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Social Host Liability

Fort Lauderdale Injury Lawyer Holding Social Host Liable for Drunk Driving Accidents

Underage drinking is a major concern throughout the United States and here in Florida. Unfortunately, parents and homeowners contribute to this problem by hosting parties where they allow minors to consume alcohol. This is not only dangerous and irresponsible, but also illegal under Florida law. If you have been injured by an underage drunk driver, contact Fort Lauderdale injury lawyer Devon Workman as soon as possible because you may have claim against the driver and potentially the adult who provided alcohol to the minor.

Florida “Open House Party” Law

Florida has enacted criminal statute 856.015 to punish social hosts who serve alcohol or drugs to minors, and this has created a civil cause of action for injured plaintiffs. The criminal statute states:

“a person having control of any residence may not allow an open house party to take place at the residence if any alcoholic beverage or drug is possessed or consumed at the residence by any minor where the person knows that an alcoholic beverage or drug is in the possession of or being consumed by a minor at the residence and where the person fails to take reasonable steps to prevent the possession or consumption of the alcoholic beverage or drug.”

Thus, a person who violates this statute will have committed a second degree misdemeanor. Florida courts in 1998 found that this statute also holds social host liable not only criminally but civilly. Therefore, parents or homeowners who allow minors to consume alcohol at their homes can be held legally responsible for injuries that result from a minor’s intoxication.

Suing a Parent or Homeowner for Injuries That Resulted from a Drunk Driving Accident

In Florida, under Florida’s Dram Shop Law, businesses and vendors who sell alcohol may be held liable for any injuries or damages as a result of a drunk driver in two types of cases:

However, this law does not apply to “social hosts.” This means, parents or homeowners cannot be held liable in the same way as Florida businesses or vendors. For example, if a restaurant over-serves a 30-year-old patron and that patron causes an accident from drinking and driving – the restaurant can be held liable if it can be shown that the restaurant knew the patron was “habitually addicted to alcohol.” On the other hand, if a parent throws a house party and a 30-year-old man leaves the party after drinking – the parent cannot be held liable for the drunk driver.

But parents can, however, be held liable for minors who drink and drive after a social gathering. This civil cause of action will be based upon a theory of negligence and will allow the injured individual to recover compensation for their damages. Here at Workman Injury Law, our Fort Lauderdale personal injury law firm represents people who have been injured as a result of drunk drivers and we fight for our clients to receive the compensation they deserve.

What Can a South Florida Personal Injury Lawyer Do for You?

If you have been injured by a drunk driver, we understand that money cannot replace your pain and suffering or loss of a loved one – but it can be a step in the right direction. Drunk driving accident claims are often more complex than other car accident claims because there may be multiple at-fault parties. With underage drunk drivers, social hosts such as parents, can potentially be liable. This is why it is extremely important to call a Fort Lauderdale accident attorney to determine who caused your accident and establish each defendants’ liability. Our goal at Workman Injury Law is to ensure you get fully compensated for your loss and make your recovery process go as smoothly as possible. We will personally assist you in your personal injury claim and aggressively pursue just compensation for the following:

social host

At Workman Injury Law, we know how stressful and overwhelming an accident can be on your life. Our job is to fight for you to get the compensation you deserve and help you get back on your feet. We only represent injured individuals and we will be by your side every step of the way.

If you have been injured in an accident, call 954-361-3997 or fill out our online contact form to speak with Florida injury attorney Devon Workman at no cost.

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