Nightclub Held Liable In Monster Truck Drunk Driving Death
The family of a young woman who was killed when she was run over by a “monster truck” in the parking lot of a nightclub has received a $10.5 million verdict against the driver AND the nightclub.
According to the Insurancjournal.com website, the 23-year old victim was exiting the nightclub when she was struck by a huge, jacked-up pickup truck that was being driven by a man who had been drinking inside the nightclub. Apparently, evidence presented at trial proved that the driver of the truck was already drunk even before he arrived at the nightclub. Evidently, nightclub employees kept serving him additional drinks. The driver plead guilty to manslaughter and is spending time in prison.
As a Florida personal injury lawyer, wrongful death verdicts like this are important because they show what it takes to hold a bar or nightclub liable in a drunk driving accident. Under Florida law, bars and nightclubs are generally immune from liability for alcohol-related mishaps, subject to a couple of exceptions.
One exception is when the drunk driver is an underage drinker. The other exception is when a bar serves alcohol to someone who is already intoxicated, or is a habitual drunk. These cases are often very difficult to pursue. Bars and nightclubs have a host of defenses at their disposal: that the underage drinker presented a fake ID; that the patron was not obviously drunk; that the patron was not a known drunk to the workers at the bar; and others.
I am certainly glad that the family of the young lady in the Insurance Journal story received some measure of justice. Money will never bring their daughter back, but this award may cause the nightclub in question to be more careful next time.