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Is Flanigan's Responsible for a Customer that caused an accident while Drunk?

Posted by Guy DiMartino | Apr 02, 2016 | 0 Comments

A client comes into the office after being severely injured by a drunk driver. He wanted to know if he can make a claim against the bar that served the driver enough drinks to get her drunk. I told him it depends on the facts. Here is the story.

The Story

A woman is at Flanigan's, when I was a kid it was called "Big Daddy's" Bar and Grill. She drinks too much. Flanigan's employees cut the customer off and serve her water in an effort to sober her up. She leaves Flanigan's. Later that night she is driving, crosses into an on coming lane of traffic and hits the client's vehicle causing injuries.

Can Flanigan's be held responsible for the Accident?

Florida law is different than a lot of states' laws regarding a restaurant or bar's responsibility for allegedly over serving a customer who ends up hurting another person. In most states a restaurant or bar can be held responsible for negligence in over serving the customer or not recognizing the customer is drunk. In Florida, a bar or restaurant can over serve a customer with impunity.

The only way that we can hold the bar responsible for the client's injuries is showing that the bar served a minor or knowingly served a person habitually addicted to alcohol. The law can be found here. So, we need to determine if the driver was underage or an alcoholic, and if an alcoholic, that the bar or restaurant should have known.

The Flanigan's Case

In the Flanigan's case cited above. The facts did not support a claim that would fit into Florida Statute 768.125, so the injured person's lawyer tried to argue that Flanigan's was responsible because it "undertook the duty" to the injured person because it "cut" the customer off and had internal restaurant policies that its employees should call a cab for intoxicated customers. The Third DCA did not buy the injured person's argument and found that he could not bring a claim against Flanigan's.

My answer to the Client

He may have a case against the business that over served the driver in his case if the driver was a frequent customer of the establishment and is habitually addicted to alcohol, or if the driver is a minor. Because bringing an alcohol related claim is complicated, the facts and circumstances of the intoxication need to be developed as soon as practical.

About the Author

Guy DiMartino

I have loved helping people in need for almost three decades.  It has been my privilege to serve people as their pastor, chiropractor, and lawyer.  The current focus of my legal practice and life’s passion is helping the seriously injured receive complete compensation for their injuries. I am a Florida Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney. What that really means is that I am no stranger to the courtroom.  I have successfully tried and handled serious cases in state and federal courts.  My backgrounds in both law and chiropractic medicine have given me a unique perspective, extensive knowledge, and wide experience to serve those I represent. For years as a chiropractic physician, I treated my patients to alleviate their pain and suffering. Now as their lawyer, I fight to bring them financial compensation for their pain and suffering. During my years of service, I have handled many traumatic injury cases ranging from the traumatic amputation of a limb to brain and spinal cord injury.  I consider it an honor to serve you and your family. When a person entrusts me and I accept to represent them, I don’t take that relationship and responsibility lightly. My approach is that we work as a team. We are partners and our goal is the best outcome for you and your family with the highest level of communication throughout. I am always available by phone or email to discuss my potential representation of your injury case. I handle cases throughout Florida. Education: National University of Health Sciences – BS (1984), DC (1986) Valparaiso University School of Law – JD, summa cum laude (1999) Bar Admissions: Florida (2000), Indiana (1999), Illinois (2000, expired); US District Courts of Appeals (11th Circuit, 7th Circuit); United States District Courts: Southern and Middle Districts of Florida; Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana; Northern and Central Districts of Illinois; and District of Colorado. Certification:  Civil Trial, Florida Bar Guy DiMartino on Google+ – Circle Guy on Google+ Guy DiMartino on Google+

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