Bars, festivals, nightclubs, concerts and cruises are required to use reasonable care in ensuring the safety of patrons – particularly if they are serving substantial or unlimited quantities of alcohol – in order to prevent South Florida injuries and wrongful deaths.
According to The News-Herald, a man filed a Florida injury lawsuit recently alleges a no-limit alcohol policy for unlimited alcohol policies for VIP guests. Among the most dangerous practices: Offering unlimited amounts of “free” alcohol. This, plaintiff alleges, resulted in his falling off the balcony at a Panama City Beach business owner and sustaining serious injury.
Although there was railing on the multi-level platform, there was no railing on the stairs that flanked either side of it. When he was asked by a security employee to sit down on the step, he complied – but lost his balance ended up falling from the stairs, sustaining serious and permanent injury.
Foreseeability as Basis of Liability in Florida Concert Injury Lawsuit
Plaintiff alleges the organizers of the country music festival and the company providing security were responsible for his injury. Among the reasons he cites for this assertion:
- They provided unlimited alcohol to patrons of the event;
- Insufficient lighting on the platform;
- The ill-constructed platforms at the venue – and lack of instructions provided prior to his stepping onto those platforms.
In his Florida injury lawsuit, plaintiff asserts the event organizer knew or should have known that the conditions provided to VIP attendants could result in a high chance of likelihood of serious injury. A West Palm Beach personal injury lawyer can explain this gets to the issue of foreseeability.
Foreseeability is a leading test that helps courts determine proximate cause for an accident/injuries. It asks not only whether the defendant/person who owed a duty of care to the plaintiff/injured person knew or should have known about a dangerous condition/action/inaction and also whether they could have reasonably foreseen the consequences. This limits the scope of liability based on the type of manner of the harm involved, but not the extend of the harm caused.
Would Dram Shop Law Apply?
The aforementioned Florida festival injury case isn’t being brought under Florida’s dram shop law, F.S. 768.125, which requires evidence alcohol was either unlawfully served to a minor or to someone know to the server as a habitual alcoholic and that this is what resulted in the harm. Plaintiff in this case doesn’t allege that but-for the unlawful service of alcohol to him, his injuries would have occurred. Instead what he’s saying is that this was a factor that exacerbated the risk of the rail-less VIP platform.
The burden of proof in Florida dram shop litigation is high, and generally is only raised by third-parties in drunk driving accident injury and wrongful death cases, though the law doesn’t expressly limit claims to those.
Many South Florida Festival Injuries are Preventable
No property owner is under obligation to guarantee every entrants’ safety from every possible harm. However, property owners/event organizers (those with control over the site) who invite the public onto that property for the purpose of the property owner’s financial benefit, patrons are then classified as “business invitees.” They are owed the highest duty of care under Florida law. They must not only address/warn of those problems about which they are aware. They must also actively/routinely inspect for those hazards.
In the case of an improperly-erected platform, it’s possible one could also assert a claim against the owner of the platform or against its manufacturer if it was defectively designed or manufactured.
Plaintiff alleges defendant in this case the event organizer owed a duty of care to take steps to protect the well-being of VIP guests, including providing a gathering area free of dangerous conditions that were reasonably foreseeable. Here, plaintiff attorneys argue, the area provided wasn’t safe for its intended purpose.
Plaintiff doesn’t explicitly say in the filing he consumed the free alcohol provided, but however does note that the “free” alcohol provided to VIP ticket-buyers – himself included – created a situation wherein it was reasonably foreseeable those patrons would consume alcohol, some to the point their normal faculties would be impaired. For this reason, plaintiff concludes even more precautionary measures for the platform should have been considered and taken.
Florida has many concerts and festivals throughout the year, and it’s imperative that venue owners and operators take these concerns seriously.
Contact the South Florida personal injury attorneys at David J. Halberg, P.A., Attorneys at Law, by calling toll-free at 1-877-425-2374. Serving West Palm Beach, Miami, Tampa, Orlando and Fort Myers/ Naples. There is no fee unless you win.
Lawsuit: “Free Alcohol” ended with Gulf Coast Jam injury, Sept. 30, 2018, By Zach McDonald, Panama City News Herald
More Blog Entries:
Reasons to Hire a South Florida Injury Lawyer With Experience, Jan. 30, 2019, South Florida Injury Attorney Blog