A Florida jury recently awarded $60 million in damages in connection with a minor who was injured in a car crash after being served alcohol by a bar. In 2003, Angela Crowe, who was underage at the time, and her boyfriend, visited Spectators, a North Naples Pub. Even though the bar knew Crowe was underage, they continued to serve her alcohol.
After the night ended, Crowe got into the car with her boyfriend, who dozed off and crashed into a tree. Crowe suffered “brain damage, broken legs, a lacerated liver, multiple rib fractures and other injuries.” In 2007, Crowe’s mother sued the bar for negligence. The mother claimed that her daughter would have been able to make a more informed decision about getting in the car if the bar had not served her alcohol.
Recently, a jury awarded the mother $60 million in damages against the bar and its owners. The jury ruled that the mother is entitled to $10 million to cover the lost wages of her permanently disabled daughter. Furthermore, the jury awarded another $50 million for pain and suffering.
Florida Dram Shop Act
Florida, as with many states, has a statute that governs liability for injuries or damages resulting from intoxication. This type of statute is often referred to as Dram Shop Act. These statutes are typically drafted to hold a drinking establishment responsible for injuries or damages caused as a result of serving an intoxicated patron. Under Florida’s law, if “a person who willfully and unlawfully sells or furnishes alcoholic beverages to a person who is not of lawful drinking age or who knowingly serves a person habitually addicted to the use of any or all alcoholic beverages” then that person may be liable for injury or damage caused by or resulting from the intoxication.
Importantly, drinking establishments are strictly liable for injuries caused as a result of serving alcohol to a minor. This means that just two elements must be met in order to hold the bar liable for injuries. For one, the person must have been a minor. In addition, the bar must have served alcohol to the minor. It does not matter if the bar reasonably should have known that the patron served was a minor.
Notably, Florida’s law is fairly limited to the extent that it will hold a drinking establishment liable for injuries caused by a patron who is not a minor. Normally, a drinking establishment will not be held liable for injuries caused by or resulting from the intoxication of a patron. Rather, in order to hold the bar liable, it must be established that the bar knowingly served alcohol to a person addicted to alcohol. Depending on the circumstances, it may be difficult to prove that the bar knew that the patron was an alcoholic.
Contact a Brandon Car Accident Attorney Today
If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident, an experienced Brandon car accident attorney can help protect your rights. The car accident attorneys at Reed & Reed have extensive experience helping injured car accident victims recover compensation for their injuries. From our office in Brandon, we help clients in Tampa, New Tampa, Plant City, East Hillsborough County and throughout the state of Florida. Contact Reed & Reed for a free consultation.