The mother of Samuel Garcia, 32, who was killed in an accident caused by a teenage drunk driver has been awarded $716.5M in damages in her lawsuit against a Florida convenience store that sold the teenager alcohol.
David Holdsworth, 17, along with his friends, purchased beer and other alcoholic beverages from the Best for Less Food Mart in Apollo Beach, Fla. Holdsworth later returned to the store and purchased more beer and alcohol.
Later that day, Holdsworth lost control of his car and swerved into Garcia’s vehicle as Garcia waited to exit a parking lot. Garcia sustained a serious injury in the accident, a torn aorta, but bystanders were unable to extricate him from his vehicle because his car was against power cables and bystanders feared being electrocuted. Garcia died 15-20 minutes after the accident from the torn aorta.
Holdsworth’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was .151% when he hit Garcia He was sentenced to five years in prison for negligent homicide.
Garcia’s mother filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Best for Less Food Mart and the owners, Nasser and Wendy Ayyoub, claiming they were liable under Dram Shop liability because their store knowingly furnished alcohol to minors.
The attorney for Garcia’s mother, William Gilbert of Moses Lake, Wash, said that it was common knowledge to the teens at the high school that Holdsworth attended that alcohol could be purchased by minors at the Best for Less. In fact, the employees at the stores would package the alcohol in the back of the store so no one would be aware what the teens were purchasing.
Just months prior to the car accident, the state had cited Nasser Ayyoub for selling alcohol to minors and he had paid a fine and completed a training program.
Dram Shop Liability Claims
Dram shop liability is a body of laws that finds that liquor stores, bars, restaurants or other commercial establishments may be found liable for the death or injury to a third party as a result of driving under the influence car accidents if they knowingly furnished alcohol to visibly intoxicated persons or to minors.
Dram shop laws can vary from state-to-state but in all 50 states, selling or service alcohol to minors is illegal.
While every case is unique, liability under dram shop laws can range from over serving or to inadequately training staff who serve or sell alcohol. For example, if a restaurant or store fails to check a person’s driver’s license for their age — “carding” — before service or selling alcohol.
How A Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
If you have been in an accident with a drunk driver, a personal injury attorney will work with private investigators to investigate a dram shop claim. Since staff turnover can be a problem in many restaurants and bars, it is important that the investigation be performed as soon as possible.
Drunk drivers are often responsible for the most serious car accidents including head-on collisions from going the wrong-way or crossing the center line on a highway or a street. The Farber Law Group will seek damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and for punitive damages when gross negligence is involved.
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