In general, when an establishment in Florida provides alcohol to a person of legal age, that establishment is not liable for damages caused by the intoxication of that person. However, there are some exceptions to that rule. Here are the three main exceptions:
1) If the establishment sells alcohol to a minor or gives alcohol to a minor, they can be held liable for any injury, property damage, or wrongful death that results from that minor’s intoxication. Negligence may be assumed in such a case if the establishment is found to have violated Florida’s criminal statute regarding selling or furnishing alcohol to minors. (Fla. Stat. 562.11).
2) If the establishment willfully serves a personal habitually addicted to the use of alcohol, the establishment may be responsible for injury or damages resulting from intoxication. This exception will not be triggered by the establishment merely serving alcohol to a person who is intoxicated. There must be some proof that the establishment knew that the person was habitually addicted to alcohol. This may be proven by how well known the person is to the bar owner’s employees and owners, whether the bar had written notice that the person was habitually addicted to alcohol, the number of drinks commonly consumed by the person at the establishment, or other circumstantial evidence.
3) A tavern or similar establishment can be held responsible for any injury or damage resulting from a person’s intoxication if the owners of the tavern knew, or had enough information/access to be aware of, the likelihood of tavern patrons becoming injured by the disorderly conduct of another and failing to do something to prevent it. This brings about issues regarding negligent hiring and negligent security. The person who causes injuries from their intentional or disorderly conduct in a bar or club may also be personally liable for injuries they cause.
Establishments that serve alcohol are also still liable for injuries caused by defective or unsafe conditions of their premises. In the event you or someone you know is injured at an establishment that serves alcohol, such as a bar, club, or restaurant, it is important to consult with a Tampa personal injury attorney who is knowledgeable about the laws that are unique in those types of cases.