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Personal Injury

Drunk Driving Accident Injuries

Impaired Driving Costs

According to Florida DMV records there were 33,625 DUI convictions in Florida in 2011. Also, the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration ("NHTSA") reports that about every 90 seconds, a person is injured in a drunk driving accident.

In 2010, more than 10,000 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes - one every 51 minutes.

Every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 48 minutes. The annual cost of alcohol-related crashes totals more than $51 billion

The percentage of teens in high school who drink and drive has decreased by more than half since 1991, according to the Center for Disease Control but more can be done. Nearly one million high school teens drank alcohol and got behind the wheel in 2011. Teen drivers are 3 times more likely than more experienced drivers to be in a fatal crash. Drinking any alcohol greatly increases this risk for teens. Download Teen Drinking and Driving Fact Sheet PDF

Dram Shop Laws Need to be Stricter in Florida

What are dram shop laws?
A dram shop law or act imposes liability on drinking establishments such as bars and taverns ("dram shops") who serve alcohol to patrons who are already visibly or obviously intoxicated. Drinking establishments may have to pay damages to third parties who are injured by the people whom they sold alcohol to. This law provides a plaintiff the legal standing to bring an action against a tort feasor for an alcohol related injury or death.

Laws exist in every state except for Florida and Nevada that place criminal and/or administrative responsibility on the bar or bartender to monitor the behavior of the drinker and their consumption of alcohol.

While serving alcohol to minors is already illegal, dram shop laws also impose additional penalties for bars who serve alcohol to minors who are visibly intoxicated.

Florida's dram shop law is very limited in its scope. Florida statute § 768.125 states that individuals or companies who sell or serve alcohol are not liable for injuries or damages caused by the drunk driver except in two situations.

1. If the drunk driver was under the age of 21, the individual who served the alcohol can be held liable for the damages. The statute does not contain any knowledge requirement, presumably because the serving party has a duty to ensure that everyone they sell or provide alcohol to is of legal age to consume it.

2. The exception is that parties who serve a person who they know is "habitually addicted to the use of any or all alcoholic beverages" may be liable for injury and damages caused as a result of the intoxication. In these cases, the courts have held that there is an obvious foreseeable risk of injury when you provide alcohol to persons who lack the ability to make responsible decisions in the consumption of alcohol.

Florida's laws are not as strict on restaurants and bars and need to improve. The application of this law allows a restaurant or bar to serve alcohol to customers even after the customer is intoxicated as long as they bartender does not have knowledge that the customer is "habitually addicted" to alcohol. This was true in 1995 case where a fraternal lodge was held not liable for the death of a man killed in a car crash by a driver who was routinely served 3-7 drinks when he visited the lodge.

Dram shop violations are serious matter because they often involve the interests of several parties. David J. Chesnut P. A. can work with you to help prepare your case in the event that representation is needed in a court of law.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed because of the actions of a drunk driver, it is imperative to retain an experienced Florida DUI personal injury attorney. At David J. Chesnut P. A. our goal is to hold the drunk driver and his/her insurance carrier responsible for the damage they have caused and seek compensation for the victim and possibly the victim's family for physical and emotional injury.

Swift action on your injury claim can greatly increase your chances of success. Contact David J. Chesnut P.A , When Experience Matters. There is never a fee for a consultation.

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David J. Chesnut, P.A.
215 SW. Federal Hwy., #101
Stuart, FL 34994