Can I Sue A Bar For A Drunk Driving Accident If I was Driving or a Passenger

man at bar sleeping with car keys in his hand and a beer near his other hand.

As the title suggests, we will be discussing if you can sue a bar for a drunk driving accident, how much liability bars and restaurants have in these cases, and who can sue? The drunk driver, the person they hit, and the passenger’s side of the lawsuit and the resulting court cases and settlement fees.

It’s important to note that all cases are unique, and your case may be very different. We cannot say without reviewing your case if you can sue a bar for a drunk driving accident. We are discussing these laws in general terms and you should speak to a car accident lawyer as soon as possible.

checklistan a bar be held liable for a drunk driving accident? Yes. These are known as dram shop laws in Florida Statute §768.125 Liability for injury or damage resulting from intoxication. These laws protect the persons injured in a crash caused by a drunk driver. The driver must be found to be “habitually addicted” to alcohol.


Let’s learn a little more about suing a bar for a drunk driving accident and what kind of recourse you have if you were injured in a drunk driving accident.


If You Were Driving and The Drunk Driver Hit You

As mentioned above, you may be protected, and you may benefit from the dram shop law in Florida. The car accident lawyer you hire has to prove that the drunk driver who hit you is habitually addicted to alcohol and that the bar staff knowingly sold the driver alcohol even though they understood the danger this behavior would cause… and in fact in your case, did cause.

If you can prove that in a court of law, then you will have a case when you sue a bar for a drunk driving accident, and you will have a higher likelihood of winning or settling your case.

Proving liability after being hit by a drunk driver is usually something that the police will do at the scene of the accident. They will look for signs of intoxication. But if you notice any signs, be sure to mention something to the office. Signs of intoxication include smells of alcohol, red eyes, slurred speech, impaired balance, and empty alcohol cans. If the officer did not report intoxication and you believe that was an error, you can ask to have the police report changed. Though this is a difficult and sometimes impossible process.

You can sue the other driver, their insurance, and the bar for a drunk driving accident. You may even be able to sue other vehicles in the accident and your own insurance company for injuries you sustained in the accident.

Most car accident attorneys offer free consultations so call as soon as you can. It’s important to discuss all the details with your car accident attorney as soon as possible and do not leave out information. Your attorney is on your side.


If You Were a Passenger In The Car That Was Hit

Can you sue a bar for a drunk driving accident if you were the passenger? Yes. Will your lawsuit be successful, and how much will you likely earn from a lawsuit. That depends on some of the factors related to the situation at the time of the accident.

Were you in the drunk driver’s car? If you were in the drunk driver’s car, then you will likely be held in some form of comparative negligence. Because you were also acting irresponsibly, be sharing a vehicle with the drunk driver.

Were you in the car hit by the drunk driver? You will not hold comparative liability if you were a passenger in the car that was struck by a drunk driver.

We have covered all the steps to take if you were a passenger in the car during a DUI car accident, and we’ll summarize some of them here. In this case, we are focusing on whether or not you can sue a bar for a drunk driving accident if you were the passenger in the car, not the steps you should take.  


If You Were The Drunk Driver Who Caused The Accident

Can you sue a bar for over-serving you? That’s the real question that comes back to suing a bar or restaurant after a drunk driving accident. Because the bar owner and bartender did not force you to drive but a case could be made for them over serving you and letting you drive home.

The law does not hold much room, nor much tolerance for those who break it. And anyone who is caught breaking the law and causing severe injury or damage in the process is likely going to be held accountable for those damages. If you were drunk and you caused a car accident that resulted in damaged and injury, you need to seek legal representation immediately. You will likely have to hire a criminal defense attorney and hope that you will not receive a felony for driving under the influence.


About the Author

Sean Greene
Sean Greene

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Sean J. Greene has recovered more than $150 million in the past 10 years for clients. He specializes within the firm in wrongful death, personal injury, medical malpractice, nursing home malpractice, and product liability cases. Sean has represented coaches and players in the National Football League (NFL) and Major League Baseball (MLB) who have been victims of personal injuries. In 2001, after winning a trial on liability, he recovered $11,200,000 for the family of David Griggs, the former Miami Dolphins player who died in an automobile accident in Broward County, Florida. He has received the highest distinction of an AV® rated attorney by Martindale-Hubbell, which recognizes Sean as possessing “Very High-Preeminent” legal ability with “Very High” ethical standards. Additionally, he is a member of the prestigious Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum whose membership is limited to trial lawyers who have achieved a trial verdict or settlement in the amount of $1,000,000 or more. Sean is widely known in South Florida, as he cohosted the TV program “Your Legal Rights” and lectures throughout the state of Florida on various legal issues.