Article By Terence Perenich
I’m Often Asked:
Who Pays For Injuries Caused By Drunk Drivers?
I have discussed the problem that Florida law does not require drivers or owners of motor vehicles to carry liability insurance for injuries caused to others.This often leaves many innocent victims with no recourse to make up for everything they lose from automobile accidents. These cases require us to investigate any conduct in the chain of events that results in these injuries. In the case of drunk driver causing injury to others, we will always investigate what facts were set in motion ending in a DUI crash.
Sometimes, the investigation leads us to the bar, restaurant or other business that served the alcoholic beverages to the drunk driver that contributed to the DUI accident. But even if we find out that the DUI driver was overserved at a particular establishment, we still have to prove that this was not an isolated incident.
Florida law has what is called a “reverse dram-shop” statute. Instead of creating a higher duty of care on commercial vendors of alcohol, this law limits such liability to instances when the injury was caused by the commercial vendor serving alcoholic beverages to someone who is an “habitual drunkard.” For lawyers trying to hold such vendors responsible, we have to prove that the vendor knew their customer drank excessively on a routine basis and that they served him anyway which resulted in the DUI accident.
This issue was recently discussed in a situation where a golfer drank excessively during his round of golf, left the golf course and caused a DUI accident killing an innocent woman. In Gonzalez v. Stoneybrook West Golf Club, evidence was found that the DUI defendant drank excessively almost every time that he played golf and that the club staff and bartenders all knew it but served him anyway. That was enough evidence to let the jury decide if the employees had knowledge that the DUI driver was an “habitual drunkard” and so they held the golf club responsible for causing another’s death in a DUI crash.
I have successfully prosecuted these exact types of DUI cases. While we all recognize that the first point of responsibility for injury or death should be on a drunk driver, commercial vendors cannot turn a blind eye to the danger they create by serving customers too many drinks.
You need a lawyer with the experience to bring accountability for all who play a role in causing injury. That’s why you need to call Perenich The Law Firm today. We believe that in a responsible society, everyone plays a part in keeping each other safe.
Terence Perenich is a founding partner of Perenich The Law Firm and a licensed Florida Bar attorney Since 1992. Terence dedicates his practice to bringing justice to the injured and their families in the Tampa Bay Community where he has resided his entire life.