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Articles Tagged with drunk-driving-accident

It’s been one year since Matthew DeRemer was killed on New Year’s Day in South Florida. It happened on Jan. 1, 2016, just hours after the 31-year-old U.S. Marine veteran posted an inspirational message about the power of a positive mind set and moving on after a series of setbacks in 2015. Just a few hours later, he was struck by another vehicle while on his motorcycle. That other driver, 59-year-old Stephen Lee Clarke, was allegedly drunk. He is still facing DUI manslaughter charges. newyearseve

In DeRemer’s post, which was later shared tens of thousands of times, he reflected on the difficulty of the year, his renewed faith and his looking forward to a brand new chapter. He ended with, “I really don’t know where I’ll end up tonight, but I do know where I wind up is where I’m meant to be.” He died at the corner of 102nd Ave. N. and 98th Street in Largo, with the Florida State Highway Patrol finding that Clarke had turned left into DeRemer’s path, causing a collision.

New Year’s Day is widely known as the worst day of the year when it comes to impaired driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that more people are ticketed for DUI on New Year’s Day than on any other holiday throughout the year.  Continue reading

Under limited circumstances, Florida law allows those injured by drunk drivers to recover from the establishments who served alcohol to the impaired motorist. F.S. 768.125 allows recompense from bars, restaurants and other establishments when the drunk driver either:

  • Was under the age of 21 OR
  • Was known to be habitually addicted to alcohol. beerbottles

Other states allow compensation when a bar or restaurant serves to someone who was clearly intoxicated. That’s not the case in Florida, unfortunately. Still, our dram shop law can be a useful tool in some situations.

Recently, The Lakeland Ledger reports one such lawsuit has been filed by the brother of a man tragically killed in a hit-and-run accident. The at-fault driver was later identified as a 52-year-old man from Mulberry. He is now facing charges of leaving the scene of a crash involving death and tampering with physical evidence. Continue reading

The dram shop liability law in Florida, as codified in F.S. 768.125, limits liability against establishments for serving alcohol when those who consume the drinks go on to injure others. That injury most typically includes drunk driving, but it could mean other types of damages that occur as a result of that person’s intoxication. The circumstances in Florida under which a bar or restaurant could be held accountable are only when drinks are sold/furnished to minors or those with a known addiction to alcohol. abottle

Other states have dram shop laws that are considerably broader.

But no matter where a case takes place, there may be legal disputes regarding the technical interpretations of the language in dram shop laws.

Sovereign immunity is a legal principal that holds the government can’t be held liable in tort cases the same way individuals can unless a waiver is granted. F.S. 768.28 covers sovereign immunity waivers, and essentially allows the state and its agencies and subdivisions to be liable for tort claims the same way and to the same extent as private individuals under the same circumstances. highway

There are, however a number of caveats to this. For example, the state can’t be responsible to pay punitive damages or pre-judgment interest. Also, if any one claim exceeds $200,000 per person or $300,000 per occurrence, that amount has to be approved by the state legislature.

Still, it’s not uncommon for government agencies to assert protection by way of sovereign immunity in various tort actions, and sometimes they are successful. But what a recent case before the Texas Supreme Court held was that even if a government agency has sovereign immunity protection, government contractors can’t expect the same just because they were doing government work.

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