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Jeff Luhrsen

Jeff Luhrsen

Victims First.
  • Florida, Virginia
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Summary

Jeff Luhrsen is a personal injury attorney, with more than 15 years of proven success. Licensed in both Florida and Virginia, The Liquor Law Center operates in Sarasota, Florida, yet also consults clients in any of Florida's 67 counties. As an advocate for people who have experienced wrongful accidents, Florida attorney Jeffrey Luhrsen combines his understanding of the law with a strong desire to help his clients.A graduate of The University of Tampa, Jeffrey Luhrsen holds a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies. Following his undergraduate work, Jeffrey Luhrsen received his Juris Doctor, graduating Cum Laude from Stetson University College of Law. Seeking to broaden his education, Jeffrey Luhrsen earned his Master of Laws from Temple University Beasley School of Law, where he focused on trial advocacy. While attending law school, Jeffrey Luhrsen won Law I, II, and III Merit awards and appeared on the Dean’s List and Honor Roll. He also held a clerking internship with the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida. Today, Jeffrey Luhrsen serves as the chief attorney at The Liquor Law Center, which maintains offices near Bradenton, in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, and is available for consultation anywhere in Florida. Jeffrey Luhrsen focuses his practice on dram shop law, which holds vendors accountable for the illegal furnishing of alcohol to minors and alcoholics. Beyond client work, he is active in the Florida Justice Association and is a member of local bar associations, other trial attorney organizations, and various community groups.

Additional Practice Areas
  • DUI Crashes and Victims Rights
  • Auto Accidents
  • Under-Age Drinking & Liquor Liability
  • Negligent Security
  • Wrongful Death
  • Pedestrian Accidents
  • Dram Shop
Fees
  • Free Consultation
  • Contingent Fees
    No Fees or Costs Unless we Win
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
Florida
Virginia
Languages
  • English
Professional Experience
Trial Counsel and CEO
The Liquor Law Center, Chartered
- Current
Trial Counsel and CEO
Luhrsen Law Group
- Current
Trial Attorney
Jodat & Luhrsen
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Trial Counsel, Military Magistrate, Article 32 Hearing Officer, Special Assistant US Attorney to Department of Justice
US Army, Judge Advocate
-
Education
Temple University Beasley School of Law
LL.M. (2008) | Trial Advocacy
-
Advanced education beyond law school specifically designed towards trial practice
Honors: n/a
Stetson University College of Law
J.D. (1993) | Law school
-
Honors: cum laude
Activities: Moot Court and many others
University of Tampa
B.A. (1990) | Liberal Studies
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Awards
AV Preeminent Rating
Martindale Hubbell
Professional Associations
American Bar Association
Member
Current
Florida Bar Foundation Fellow
Current
Sarasota Bar Association and Diversity Committee
Active/Participating Member
- Current
Sarasota Chamber of Commerce
Trustee and Candidate, 2015 Leadership Sarasota Program
- Current
Sarasota Chamber of Commerce
Trustee
- Current
Sarasota Coalition on Substance Abuse
Chair, Legislative Committee
- Current
Sarasota County Bar Association
- Current
Sarasota Coalition on Substance Abuse
Chair, Legislative Committee
- Current
Florida Highway Patrol Advisory Board
Member
- Current
The Virginia Bar Association
Attorney
- Current
The Florida Justice Association
Member
- Current
The Florida Bar
Attorney
- Current
MADD-FL
Chair, Legislative Committee
-
Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers
Fellow; Board of Directors 2001-2006 and Chair, Automobile Insurance Committee 2003-06
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Publications
Articles & Publications
Protect & Defend: Are Jacks Wild? How 1 Night of Fun Can Ruin a Life
Celebrity Press, No 1 Seller
Back to the Future: How Rodriguez v. Lagomasino Got it Right in 2008 and Why Modern Voir Dire Should be Guided by 1929’s Johnson v. Reynolds
The Florida Bar JOURNAL
Legal Grave Robbing: Discovery of Psychotherapy Records in Florida Wrongful Death Cases
The Florida Justice Association JOURNAL, Sept 2007, No 523
Websites & Blogs
Website
Liquor Liability & Dram Shop Law
Videos
iPromise Campaign | Dont Text and Drive | Luhrsen Law Group

Toll Free 866.957.4878 (HURT) | Local 941 957 4878 http://www.luhrsen.com/ipromise-campa... http://www.luhrsen.com/ipromise-fall-... iPromise is our way of spreading awareness of the devastation texting while driving causes and promoting safe habits in Bradenton, Sarasota, and beyond. We believe this is the best way to give back to the community and, while we are at it, provide an incentive in the form of a scholarship contest that provides another incentive for teen drivers and their parents to take the iPromise pledge not to text and drive. The life you save, may be your own. Help us spread the word to your friends use #LLGiPromise on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

I was injured by someone who I think was drunk, but they were not issued a ticket. What can I do?

You get in a wreck. You think that the person is drunk. Law enforcement shows up and for whatever reason, law enforcement does not arrest the person for Driving Under the Influence. Where does that leave us? Well, I'll tell you where it leaves us. It leaves us in a situation where we're going to have to prove on our own, without law enforcement, that the person was drunk. The good news is we can absolutely do that. The way you do it is through circumstantial evidence. You hear that term circumstantial evidence. People think it's weak, it's not good. Most of the time, that's the way cases get proven. How do we do it? We find out was the person slurring? Was the person stumbling? Were they repeating themselves? Those sorts of things. The best evidence that somebody was drunk when they were driving comes from what? The way they were driving, that's where really the best evidence usually comes from. We can get there from here, absolutely. You're probably going to need a lawyer to do it. Good luck.

I was involved in a Florida motorcycle accident, but I don't have a motorcycle license...?

If you were involved in a motorcycle accident, and you were not at fault, so it's the other person's fault, you're going to have rights against that person even if you didn't have a motorcycle license. The question is who was at fault. If the other person was at fault, you're going to have rights against them even if you didn't have a motorcycle endorsement on your license.

Who can I sue for a drunk driving accident in Florida?

Somebody gets hit by a drunk driver, there's bad injuries, the car is wrecked. All kinds of negative things happen. The question we hear all the time is, "Who is going to take care of this? Is it the drunk driver or is it somebody else?" Definitely, the drunk driver is going to be at fault and is going to be responsible for the harm they caused. If the drunk driver was at a bar, the bar might be responsible. There are situations where the bar is responsible, or if the person was a minor, then the question is what adult gave them or sold them the alcohol? Those are situations where the bar could be held responsible or a liquor store could be held responsible. It just takes some investigation and some digging to find out who is responsible for what.

Who can bring a lawsuit on behalf of someone killed in a car accident?

When somebody's killed in a car accident in Florida, the lawsuit has to be brought by what's called the estate or the personal representative of the estate. Most estates are set up by lawyers. They don't have to be set up by lawyers, but there does have to be an estate that's set up in order to bring a wrongful death claim.

Who are the typical plaintiffs in a dram shop action or liquor liability case?

Plaintiffs in liquor liability cases, who are they? Most people think that the only plaintiff in a liquor liability case is going to be the person who was injured by a drunk driver. That's not really true, that's one plaintiff. The other plaintiff, let's say a bar sold alcohol to a kid. The kid goes out and hurts somebody else. Who can sue that bar? Well number one, the person who got hurt. Also, the kid, why? Kids have to be protected from themselves. That's why nobody's allowed to sell liquor to anybody who's under 21. Sell liquor to somebody who's under 21, really likely they're going to do something stupid and they're going to hurt themselves or they're going to hurt somebody else. So anybody who gets hurt because of selling alcohol to a minor can sue that bar.

Who are the typical defendants in a dram shop action or liquor liability case?

If somebody gets hurt in an alcohol-related incident, who is going to be held accountable for it? You go to most lawyers, they would tell you if it is a drunk-driving case, you sue the drunk driver and you sue the bar. I think that is a bad idea. I don't think you should do that and I'll tell you why. If a bar served knowingly an alcoholic or they knowingly served a minor, the last thing we want to do for that bar is do them the favor of letting them blame their bad conduct on somebody else. In other words, think about it this way. If I give a box of matches and a gallon of gasoline to a pyromaniac, what is going to happen? Probably a big fire. Then, if somebody sues the pyromaniac and me, I get to say, "Why is everybody picking on me? I didn't light the fire. All I did was give the gasoline and the matches to the pyromaniac." That is why we just sue the bar.

What types of legal relief are available on behalf of...someone killed in an auto accident?

What types of legal relief are available on behalf of the surviving family and estate of someone killed in an automobile accident? When somebody is wrongfully killed in a automobile accident, the survivors and the estate are going to have a right to recover a whole range of damages from medical expenses to funeral expenses, to money that that person would have earned from working in their life. Money that person would have saved during their working years. Also, support services to their family, all those sorts of things. Plus of course, the grief and the loss suffered by the loved ones because somebody that they cared so much for was killed wrongfully.

What should I do if I am involved in a car accident in Florida?

Whenever you are involved in a car accident in Florida, after you've notified law enforcement and you've gotten medical treatment, first thing you need to do is notify your own insurance company. Before you get to working through the insurance situation, make sure that you get yourself checked out medically. One of the responses that humans have to any kind of trauma ... It's what's called flight or fight. Our bodies get dosed with adrenaline and other brain chemicals to keep us going. We might not feel injuries immediately after a car accident, but the next day or a few hours later, that's when people, a lot times, feel. Get checked out by a doctor. Best-case scenario, you feel fine. The doctor says you're fine, and you go on living your life. If there is a problem, you want to have it evaluated by a doctor. Once you finish dealing with that, notify your insurance company and let your insurance company handle everything.

What should I do if I am involved in a car accident in Florida with a drunk driver?

Whenever we are involved in a car accident with somebody that we think is drunk, of course we're always going to call law enforcement. That happens in every car wreck. When law enforcement comes to the scene of somebody that you think was driving drunk, make sure, assert your right, to know what that law enforcement officer is doing. We do see some situations where law enforcement officers for whatever reason, don't do roadside sobriety tests, sometimes they don't do breathalyzer tests. Then later on I hear from the victim, "Oh my goodness, I don't understand why the law enforcement officer didn't do these things." When the law enforcement officer comes to the scene of your crash, ask that law enforcement officer what they're doing. If they're not doing an investigation for drunk driving, ask them why. Tell them that you think the person was drunk and you want that investigation done. Maybe they'll respond to you positively, maybe they won't but at least you've asked.

What should I do if an insurance company approaches me about the death of a loved one?

If an insurance company approaches you about the death of a loved one, think very carefully about why that insurance company wants to talk to you. Definitely, you can listen to that insurance company; but remember, two ears, one mouth. Listen much more than you talk. Ask that insurance company why they're talking to you about this. Ask that insurance company what they think happened. Take that information, think about it very carefully before you decide whether you are going to share anything that you think you know with that insurance company.

What obligations does the insurance company owe me regarding my claim in Florida?

Every insurance company in Florida has certain obligations. They've got an obligation to their customers, to their insureds, to investigate all claims that are made, to investigate those claims thoroughly, to investigate those claims promptly, and to offer to settle those claims whatever amount is fair under the circumstances. What amount is fair? It always depends on the harm that was done. Their customer, the person who's at fault, is responsible for paying for all the harm that was done. If that person has insurance, that insurance company is supposed to cover all that harm up to the limits of the policy, and that's what they're obligated to do.

What kinds of insurance are relevant to a dram shop action or liquor liability cases?

An alcohol related incidence in Florida, everywhere else for that matter, we're looking at two kinds of insurance. We're looking for two kinds of insurance, a general liability policy and if that bar has a general liability policy, they can purchase liquor liability coverage. Liquor liability coverage, that's really what we're looking for whenever we're dealing with bars and restaurants and any kind of alcohol related incident. Question number one for that bar owner is do you have liquor liability insurance.

What kinds of damages are recoverable in a Florida wrongful death claim?

Under wrongful death claims in Florida, the damages recoverable, that's going to be lost earnings if the person was in their working years, it's going to be lost support if they were providing support to a spouse or children, it's going to be loss of companionship to spouse, children, those sorts of things. The whole gamut of the harm that's caused from that person's death, that's what the damages are going to be. It's all the way from medical expenses, funeral expenses, the money that person would have earned, the money that person would have saved, plus the grief and loss of the people who loved that person and lost them.

What is the role of insurance for a drunk driver in a liquor liability/dram shop case?

Automobile insurance in an alcohol related incident depends what kind of automobile insurance we're talking about. If it's your own automobile insurance and you are hurt, that's called under insured motorist coverage. That's going to kick in after the bar pays whatever it owes, after the drunk driver pays whatever it owes. For insurance for the drunk driver, the insurance company is going to have to pay up its limits for whatever harm that drunk driver caused and insurance company for the bar, if they have insurance, is going to have to pay for whatever harm the bar caused.

What is server intention and how does it relate to dram shop actions of liquor liability?

Sometimes when we're dealing with alcohol related incidences, we'll hear law enforcement people or lawyers use the term, "server intervention." So what are we talking about? Server intervention? Really, all we're talking about is the bartender cuts somebody off, you've had enough. Listen, you come here 3 times a week, every time you come in here you have at least 10 drinks. You've had 10 today and that's enough. I'm not selling you another beer, I'm not selling you another shot, enough is enough. That's server intervention. It's also something that almost never happens in liquor liability cases or alcohol related incident cases. If it did, then we wouldn't have a case.

What is liquor law liability?

Liquor Law liability. You know what? It's a term, it encompasses a whole bunch of different things. Basically, what it amounts to is somebody who's in the liquor business, how they can be held accountable when their conduct is bad; and I mean really bad. It's willful conduct; it's not a pure heart, empty head thing. It's, they knowingly serve or sell to somebody who's a minor, or they knowingly serve or sell to somebody who's an alcoholic. There's also some situations that we would think of as contributing to the delinquency of minors. It's adults giving kids alcohol or drugs, or allowing kids to use alcohol or drugs on their property, more or less right in front of them. Those situations, that adult can be held responsible for that, and leave it to you to decide whether they should be held accountable for it.

What if the wrongful death happened at work? Is there someone who can be sued?

When there's a wrongful death at work, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's only a worker's compensation case. If it happened at work, one thing is certain, it's going to be a worker's compensation case, but does that mean that there's nobody that could be sued? Absolutely not. If the death was caused by somebody besides the employer, then the person who caused the death at the company that caused the death is going to be accountable for all of the harm that was done. Under those circumstances, would it be a worker's comp case? Yes. Would it, also, be a wrongful death case? Yes. Why? Because the worker's comp, the employer, and the person who caused the wrongful death, that's two different people.

What if the only survivors are children who are minors? Can they sue for wrongful death in Florida?

If there's a wrongful death in Florida and the only survivors are children, and they're under 18, they can still bring a lawsuit even though they're not 18 yet. They just have to go through whoever their natural guardian is. If it's not their parents ... which they'd have to get it approved by a court. Just because they're minors, it doesn't mean that they don't have a case and they don't have the legal rights that everybody else in society does. They do; they just have to get an adult to have their name on the lawsuit.

What if the 18-wheeler or semi-truck driver who was involved in the accident was drunk?

We've got a situation with a semi-truck driver, and 18-wheeler, and we think that that truck driver was either drunk ... or what we see more often in trucking accidents, the person's on pharmaceuticals, prescribed or unprescribed. Most of the time when they're on pharmaceuticals, it's amphetamines so that they can stay up for days and days at a time because they get paid by the hour. If that's the case, that company could be exposed to punitive damages. That means punishment if they knew that their driver was using alcohol on the road or using amphetamines on the road. If they knew it and they still let that person be on the road, then there's a very good chance that they're going to have to answer for punitive damages.

What duties do business owners have to properly screen employees or visitors?

Business owners have a responsibility to screen their own employees to make sure that the people who are interacting with the public are interacting with the public under conditions that are safe. That they're not, that that business owner is not creating an unreasonable risk of danger to the public. Nobody's got a right to create an unreasonable risk of danger to anybody else. That includes businesses, if they did that, they're going to have something to answer for.

What does dram shop action mean?

Dram shop, term that we hear all the time means different things in different states. It comes from old language, really back in Europe in the old days bars were called dram shops. Dram shop laws regulate, at least in some ways, the way bars and restaurants other places that serve liquor have to do business. Means different things in different states. In Florida what it means is, there's only 2 ways that somebody who sells liquor can be help responsible for anything. Number one they knowingly serve to a kid or number two they knowingly serve an alcohol and they over serve that alcoholic. That's really it in Florida.

What defenses are available for a defendant in a dram shop action or liquor liability case?

Defenses in liquor liability cases. Where there's the usual defenses that you see in any kind of case, "It wasn't me. I didn't do it. I have no idea what happened. Somebody made the whole thing up." You are almost always going to get that. Once you get past that, what defenses do we see in liquor liability cases, the defenses we almost always see in liquor liability cases, there's a drunk-driving accident or there is a fight, somebody gets beat up, somebody gets hurt. The defense we almost always hear is, "What are you picking on me for? All I do is run a bar. I didn't get behind the wheel and hit somebody. I didn't beat anybody up. What's everybody picking on me for?" That is not a valid defense. The reason it is not a valid defense is because bars are not allowed to sell people they know are minors or people they know are alcoholics. The reason they are not allowed to sell to those people is to protect the public. It is too much risk if you sell to somebody you know is a minor or somebody you know is an alcoholic. If you sell to one of those people and then they go out and do harm, it is not a defense that you didn't get behind the wheel because it is the bar that set the whole thing in motion by selling to that person they knew was a minor or that person they knew was an alcoholic, so don't fall for that one.

What damages can be recovered in a Florida wrongful death/DUI case?

In tragic situations where a drunk driving crash takes a life the damages are punitive damages because drunk driving is intentional. Nobody drives drunk by accident. Nobody drives drunk without knowing that they were drinking before, without knowing that they're behind the wheel of a car. It's intentional, that's the first thing. Punitive damages can definitely be an issue. In wrongful death cases we could be talking about all sorts of things. Loss of companionship, also loss of support, loss of earning capacity if the person who was killed was still in their working years.

What compensation can be recovered in a dram shop lawsuit?

Dram shop lawsuits are lawsuits ... Really, all it means is it's a lawsuit against somebody that sells liquor. They're in the business of selling liquor. That's bars and restaurants, hospitality industry, that kind of thing. What kind of damages are recoverable for that? Very simple. It depends what harm was done because of the illegal sale of liquor. Whatever harm was done because of the illegal sale of liquor, that's the harm that has to be made up for. The harm's been done. Something's been broken. Your life's been interrupted. Your job's been taken, or your car's been wrecked, all these sorts of things. Whoever's responsible for that, in this case, a bar, they've got to take care of every cent of that harm. Doesn't matter if the harm done amounts to 25 cents, or 25 million dollars. That's not the point. The principle is whatever harm is done, if it's your fault, you're going to have to make it good.

What can I do if I disagree with the insurer's valuation following my drunk driving accident?

There's been a drunk-driving accident, the insurance company for the drunk driver, they evaluate the case one way, they have and a number in mind for what they think the case is worth. You don't think that they're right. You think that they're wrong. Do you have to accept their number, their evaluation? Absolutely not, you don't have to accept their number. You don't have to accept their evaluation. Just tell them what your position is and it's very simple, "Look, it's your insured, the drunk driver that owes me this money, so I'm going to get my money from the drunk driver. If you're not going to pay it I'm just going to sue him, and then the drunk driver can work it out with you about who is supposed to pay the bill, you or him. I don't know what he bought insurance for if you're not going to take care of it for him, but whatever that's between you and him. I'm suing your insured."

What are my rights in Florida as the drunk driver in a car accident?

If you were the one who was driving drunk and you were in a car accident, of course you're going to have the right to remain silent as every American does. You're also going to have the right, if you have insurance, to a defense that's provided by your insurance company, and you're going to have a right to have your insurance company pay for the damages that are within your insurance policy. That's usually going to be bodily injuries and property damage, those sorts of things. Those are rights that you have. If you've been arrested, don't take this advice, talk to a lawyer before you say anything or do anything.

What actions give rise to liability for a bar in a dram shop or liquor liability case?

There's an alcohol related incident. You know that somebody was at a bar drinking or a restaurant drinking, so when can they be held accountable? When can they be held responsible? Two ways. Both of them require that that bar knowingly do something wrong. Number one, if they knowingly serve a minor, they're going to be in trouble. Number two, they knowingly serve an alcoholic. That means they know the person is an alcoholic and they go ahead and serve them anyway. In Florida, those are really the two ways that a bar or restaurant could be held accountable in an alcohol related incident. Sounds tough to prove, it is tough to prove, but experienced lawyers are able to get it done for you.

Should I release my medical records to the insurance adjuster following a drunk driving accident?

When you've been hurt in an accident whether it's by a drunk driver or any kind of automobile accident, if you're making a claim for your physical injuries to the insurance company for the person that hurt you, they're going to want to see your medical records. That's the evidence of your physical injuries. Do you have to give them your medical records? No, you don't but you really can't make a claim without giving them your medical records because that's the evidence of your what? Your injuries. You don't have to but most of the time you're going to want to. There's no way to do a claim without it.

My wife was involved in a car accident with a drunk driver who just left a bar. Can we sue the bar?

My wife was involved in a car accident with a drunk driver who had just left a bar. Is there any way to sue the bar? One situation I hear about all the time. Somebody gets in an accident, they get hit by somebody who had just left a bar, and then the question always is, "Well, can we sue the bar? Do we have a claim against the bar?" The answer is, "Maybe." Two ways bars can be held accountable in Florida. One, they knowingly serve somebody who is a minor, or they served somebody that they knew was an alcoholic. If they did either of those things, then they can definitely be held accountable. How do you know those things? Well, the minor part, if somebody's a minor, that's easy. Whether the person who caused the wreck was an alcoholic, that's a more difficult question, a more complicated question, and that takes some investigation to sort that out.

Must the sale of liquor have been unlawful to recover damages in a liquor liability case?

Alcohol related incident, we start out knowing really not very much. What do we know? Well, we know that a person was at a bar. We know that they bought liquor at the bar and they drank the liquor at the bar. Is that enough to hold the bar accountable? No. The sale of the liquor has to be unlawful. Two things can make sale of liquor unlawful in Florida. Number one, I knowingly serve to somebody who's a minor. Number two, I knowingly serve an alcoholic. Both those situations really, really risky to the public at large. That's why as a bar owner, I'm not allowed to do it. Those are the situations when that bar owner can be held accountable.

Must the sale of liquor have been unlawful to recover damages in a liquor liability case?

Alcohol related incident, we start out knowing really not very much. What do we know? Well, we know that a person was at a bar. We know that they bought liquor at the bar and they drank the liquor at the bar. Is that enough to hold the bar accountable? No. The sale of the liquor has to be unlawful. Two things can make sale of liquor unlawful in Florida. Number one, I knowingly serve to somebody who's a minor. Number two, I knowingly serve an alcoholic. Both those situations really, really risky to the public at large. That's why as a bar owner, I'm not allowed to do it. Those are the situations when that bar owner can be held accountable.

Must criminal actions against a drunk driver be completed before civil actions...?

Must criminal actions against a drunk driver be completed before civil actions against the driver can be filed in Florida? When somebody's arrested for drunk driving, the State of Florida, that's who prosecutes the person for drunk driving. Depending on who that person hires as a criminal defense attorney, that criminal case could take a long, long time to get sorted out. Do you have to wait to file your civil claim, a civil lawsuit against that person? No, you don't. Your civil claim, that is your personal claim. Whatever the State of Florida is doing on the criminal side of the house, that's up to the State of Florida, you have no control over it. You get to do your thing while the State of Florida gets to do its thing. They're completely separate.

Must a settlement in a wrongful death case be shared with all relatives?

Settlements in wrongful death cases always go to the estate of the person who died, so an estate then disperses the money to whoever the takers are, and the takers ... That depends if the person had a will. That's going to play a factor ... Probably be controlling. If the person didn't have a will, then we go by the probate code, so to the spouse first, if no spouse, children, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Does it have to be shared with all relatives? Heck no, it doesn't have to be shared with all relatives. Is it going to be shared with some relatives first? Well, yes, of course. I mean, that's just common sense. The details of it depends on the will, depends on the probate code, but not every member of the family is going to get to share in that.

Must liquor store, bar, or tavern employees actually know the person served is drunk...?

Must liquor store, bar, or tavern employees actually know the person served is a drunk for the imposition of liability? A bar serves somebody. The person turns out to be drunk and they go out and they hurt somebody that you care about, or maybe they hurt you. The defense that you hear from the bar that we hear all the time is, "Look, I didn't know she was drunk. I didn't know he was drunk. They looked fine to me. No slurring, no repeating themselves, no foaming at the mouth. They looked fine to me." It's not a defense. If you knowingly serve a minor you're in trouble. It doesn't matter if you say you didn't know they were drunk. If you knowingly serve an alcoholic, you're going to be in trouble. It doesn't matter if you say, "I didn't know they were drunk." Why doesn't it matter? Because you never should have served them in the first place. That's the whole problem. Don't fall for that defense.

Do I have to prove that the drunk driver was visibly intoxicated at the time alcohol was sold?

What do you have to prove as far as when a drunk driver leaves a bar or restaurant, they hit somebody and hurt somebody? You don't have to prove that they were visibly intoxicated at the time that they were over-served. You got to prove one of two things: Either, they were a minor and the bar knew it, or the person was an alcoholic and the bar knew it. A lot of alcoholics, they turned professional drinkers a long time ago. They have a very, very high tolerance for alcohol. A person like that might not be slurring, or stumbling, or any of those things. If the person goes to that bar three times a week and has ten drinks every time they go there, then what does the law say? The law says to that bar owner, look, you knew that that person was an alcoholic because anybody would know that somebody who drinks like that is an alcoholic. You're going to be held accountable for that.

Is a wrongful death claim limited for a parent who has lost a child in an automobile accident?

If a parent looses a child in an automobile accident, wrongfully killed, there's not a limitation on the damages that the parent can recover. There's not a limitation on the lawsuit that a parent can bring when their child is killed. No matter how old that child is, it's still the child of that parent, that's still a loss to the parent, and that parent always will be able to bring a wrongful death claim for the death of one of their children.

Is a private party host legally responsible if a guest became intoxicated and then drove drunk?

There's a drunk driver that's out on the road. The drunk driver hit somebody, hurt somebody. We find out the drunk driver doesn't have any insurance but somebody's really hurt. What are we going to do? Is anybody else accountable? Could anybody else be accountable? Maybe. If the person was at a private party, the host of the private party, they're never going to be responsible for the conduct of another adult. Florida law just says, there's no situation where one adult private party host is going to be responsible for another adult. Private party host can be responsible if they gave alcohol to kids, or they let kids drink alcohol in front of [them 00:00:47] but they didn't give them the alcohol.

Is a drink on the house considered a sold beverage for dram shop actions or liquor liability cases?

Is a drink on the house considered a sold beverage for dram shop actions or liquor liability cases? You've got an alcohol-related incident. You got hurt, somebody you care about got hurt, and what do you hear from the bar owners? Speaker 2: Sometimes we hear, "Look, I'm not responsible for anything, because the law only holds me responsible as a bar owner when I sell liquor. I didn't sell the last two drinks to this guy. They were on the house. I gave it to him, and because I gave it to him, I'm not actually responsible for anything." Let me tell you something. That's an argument only a lawyer could make, it's a tune only a lawyer could dance to, and it doesn't work. If it doesn't make any sense and it sounds like nonsense, that's because it's nonsense. You might hear that as a defense. Don't fall for it.

If my child hosts a party while I am away, can I still be held liable?

You can be held liable if your child hosts a party while you're away, if you should have known that your kid was going to host a party. I've had situations in my career where parents have gone away; they've gone out of town and left their kids alone for the weekend. Then what happens? The kids throw a party, they have all their friends over, they're all drinking, something bad happens as it almost always does when highschoolers are drinking. Then I've heard the parents say, "Well look, I was out of town. I didn't know." Look, your kid had a DUI last year, and your kid's been suspended from school twice for drinking, and the cops have been out to your house three times for parties. If you didn't know that your kid was going to throw a party when you went out of town then you're the only one who didn't know. So you're going to be accountable for that.

If I have been injured by a drunk driver, how can I find out if a bar...may be responsible?

If I have been injured by a drunk driver, how can I find out if a bar, restaurant, or store may be responsible? So you've been injured by a drunk driver and you find out what? The drunk driver doesn't have any insurance and it's like the third time they've been arrested for it, probably don't even have a job, and so now what are we going to do? Well, we're going to look to see if there's a bar that's responsible for it. How do we find out? The best way to find out is to go to the person who was drinking in the bar and find out how often that person went to that bar and how they drank when they went to that bar. That can be dicey, getting a person to talk to you, especially if they're facing criminal charges, but there are some circumstances where it's really, really going to be in their best interest to cooperate with you, the victim. Why? Because in Florida, the prosecutors have to take into account the victim's wishes as far as sentencing is concerned.

If a patron presented a fake ID, does that provide a defense to improperly serving a minor alcohol?

Bar serves a minor. One of the defenses that we hear a lot is, "Well, the person had a fake ID." Well, if it's true, that could be a valid defense because a bar is only held accountable for selling to a minor if they knew that the person was a minor. If the person had a fantastic fake ID that would have fooled somebody at an airport, then the bar's probably not going to be held responsible. Think about it, how often does that really happen? I mean, what are we dealing with, Jason Bourne who's got like, 58 different Ids? No. You're dealing with some kid who got somebody else's license and changed a number or used a color copier to try to make a license. If you've got something that anybody would know is a fake, which is usually the situation, that's not going to be a good defense.

I was at-fault for my car accident. The other driver was legally intoxicated. What happens now?

There's been a drunk driving accident. The drunk driver was mostly at fault but not completely at fault, say 75% at fault. It's a question I hear all the time. Well, what happens in that kind of situation? Florida law has something that's different from most other states. In Florida, if I'm drunk and I cause an accident; if I cause harm and it was 51% or more my fault, then under the law, it's 100% my fault. Why? Because I was drunk and that's just a peculiarity that's in Florida law.

I was injured in a Florida accident with a drunk driver who had just left a bar. Can I sue the bar?

You can sue a bar for somebody who is driving drunk if they just left the bar. Absolutely. How the bar is going to be held accountable, it depends on the situation. If they served a minor, they're going to be held accountable. If they served somebody they knew was an accountable, they're going to be held accountable. Almost always in these kind of situations where there's a drunk driver who just left a bar, where else are they going to be coming from? They're always coming from a bar or restaurant. They were drinking some place. You're almost always going to have to file a law suit and start subpoening and talking to witnesses to find out who is responsible for what, but you have rights against the bar for sure.

I was injured by someone who was drunk but they were not issued a ticket. Do I have recourse?

If you get injured by somebody that you think was drunk but they were not issued a ticket, they weren't arrested for whatever reason, you still have recourse. You're not going to be able to count on law enforcement to prove that the person was drunk, because law enforcement didn't do it. You're going to have to find somebody else to help you prove that the person was drunk. This is what lawyers are actually good for. We can prove that the person was drunk, usually by circumstantial evidence and we're going to have to rely on circumstantial evidence because we don't have blood, we don't have breath. Why? Because the cops didn't take it. A lot of different ways to prove that a person was drunk. The best way is usually by the way the person was driving. If they were driving in a crazy way, which drunk people usually do, that's pretty good circumstantial evidence that they were drunk. If they came from a bar, and they were there for three hours before this accident happened,that's pretty good evidence that they were drinking. Because who goes to a bar except to drink? Who goes to a barber shop who doesn't want a haircut?

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Sarasota Liquor Liability and DUI Attorney
4411 Bee Ridge Road, #298
Sarasota, FL 34233
USA
Toll-Free: (866) 957-4878
Telephone: (941) 957-4878
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