Does Florida hold businesses liable for serving drunk patrons?
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Does Florida hold businesses liable for serving drunk patrons?

On Behalf of | Jun 13, 2022 | Alcoholic Beverage Law |

One of the risks you face when you get a liquor license for your business is the possibility that someone will bring a liability claim against your business or accuse you of misconduct, leading to a loss of your license. 

You may have heard of dram shop claims before. These claims involve someone holding a business responsible for something an intoxicated patron does after buying alcohol at an establishment. If someone claims that your business served a patron who was already drunk, will you face liability for the service you provided — and importantly, could that affect your liquor license? 

Florida gives more protection to businesses

In many states, serving a beverage to someone who appears already intoxicated could be a violation of liquor laws and lead to liability for the business involved. Florida has a stricter standard for such dram shop claims against a business. 

A claimant would need to prove that a business served someone who was not only drunk but a known habitual abuser of alcohol. If someone comes into your bar several nights a week, drinks enough to become falling-down drunk every time and then drives a vehicle home, at some point, continuing to over-serve that specific patron could lead to liability for your business in the form of financial claims and licensing risk. 

However, especially at a business that primarily serves tourists, you have no way of knowing someone’s medical history and therefore have a defense if someone tries to challenge your business practices in a way that could hurt your licensing. Learning more about the rules that apply to Florida liquor licenses will help your business protect the license that helps make the company profitable.