Planning a Christmas party? Can you as the host of a Christmas party be responsible for injuries or death caused by one of their party guest who drank too much at the party and then caused a car accident because of their drinking and driving? Here is the actual Florida law that addresses the question:
768.125 Liability for injury or damage resulting from intoxication.—A person who sells or furnishes alcoholic beverages to a person of lawful drinking age shall not thereby become liable for injury or damage caused by or resulting from the intoxication of such person, except that 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 may become liable for injury or damage caused by or resulting from the intoxication of such minor or person.
In other words, Florida law 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. Persons 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. These cases hinge on knowing that the partygoer and later drunk driver was "habitually addicted."
Enjoy the parties, but be safe. Call a taxi or have a sober friend drive. Make lasting joyous memories, not memories that will haunt you or your friends and family.
Personal Injury Attorney Matthew Noyes proudly representing those injured in car accidents, motorcycle crashes, bicycle accidents or pedestrian accidents caused by drunk drivers. His Tampa Bay personal injury law firm--Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes--has been caring for clients since 1955. Click here to schedule a free consultation with Personal Injury Attorney Matthew Noyes.