When asked who is responsible for drunk driving accidents in Florida, the most logical answer is: The drunk driver. This is true, of course, but this may not be the only individual or entity responsible.
There are several ways we might establish a third-party liable to pay for the actions of a drunk driver. These might include:
- Vicarious liability. This is when another person/ or entity may not have been negligent, but can be held liable vicariously via the negligence of the impaired driver. One example would be if the driver was acting in the course and scope of employment at the time of the crash. The doctrine of respondeat superior allows for vicarious liability when negligent drivers are working. The second would be the vicarious liability of the vehicle owner, if it was someone other than the vehicle driver. This won’t apply to rental car companies, but it can apply in other cases.
- UM/UIM coverage. This is insurance for which you pay that provides additional coverage when the at-fault driver either doesn’t have insurance or lacks enough insurance to fully cover the cost of your damages.
- Dram shop liability. Florida has a limited dram shop liability statute in F.S. 768.125. It states those who sell or furnish alcoholic beverages to another won’t be liable for injury or damage caused by or resulting form intoxication of that person UNLESS the drunk driver was under 21 or known by third party defendant to be habitually addicted to any or all alcoholic beverages.