Can a bar owner be held liable when the bar serves a customer who becomes intoxicated and injures another in a drunk driving collision?
Generally, under Florida law, a bar owner is not liable for damages if he sells alcohol to someone who then causes injury to another as a result of the intoxication. There is, however, a very limited exception to this general rule:
Florida Statute § 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
Each exception to the general rule presents the problem of having to prove that the bar employee or owner actually knew that the person purchasing the alcohol was either a minor or someone who is habitually addicted to the use of alcohol.