Are you ready to drive out the doldrums of winter and seek warmer weather? You’re not alone! The TSA expects an estimated 65 – 70 million travelers this Spring Break. The week-long escape from school and work has become a tradition for some and almost a rite of passage for college students. It’s no surprise that as the number of spring breakers rise, so do the numbers of injuries and arrests. While the worst most may suffer on Spring Break is a sunburn and a hangover, for others the damage can be far more extensive.
Binge drinking and Spring Break, unfortunately, seem to go hand-in-hand. A study by the American College of Health reports the average male will consume 18 drinks a day and the average female 10 drinks during this vacation. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, during Spring Break 11% drink to the point of blacking out or passing out. Excessive drinking is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths among underage youth each year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The death toll in traffic accidents at spring break destinations spikes 9.1% higher among drivers under 25. The CDC also warns that someone is killed every 31 minutes in a drunk driving accident during normal times; during spring break, those numbers increase by as much as 23%.
It also all too often leads to other serious injuries and crimes every year, not just during Spring Break.
Assault: More than 690,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking.
Sexual Abuse: More than 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.
Injury: 599,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 receive unintentional injuries while under the influence of alcohol.
Do these injured spring breakers have any recourse for their injuries and other damages? It’s possible they do. Each scenario is unique, and depends on the circumstances surrounding the injuries. If you are injured while on spring break you may not know what to do.
Below find a list of 5 common spring break scenarios and legal remedies.
- Over-serving & Underage
Establishments which serve alcohol may be at least partially liable for a patron’s alcohol related injury or death. For example, if a bar continues to serve drinks to a customer who is clearly intoxicated (slurring words, acting confused, having trouble walking or standing.) If the bartender continues to serve that person drinks, they are knowingly increasing the chances of an accident, especially if the patron plans to drive. Thirty states have dram shop laws which hold licensed establishments liable for the selling/serving of alcohol to a person who suffers injury or death as a result, or who cause such injuries for others as a result of their intoxication.
In many states it is illegal to knowingly serve alcohol to a minor, though there are some state-by-state exceptions. But anyone who provides or sells alcohol to a minor can be held responsible for any injuries or damages that result from the minor’s impaired state. So, what about fake IDs? Bar owners should consider investing in ID scanners to help identify false documents because the responsibility for a patron engaging in underage drinking remains with the serving establishment, even after the patron has left the premises.
- Victims of Violent and Sexual Crimes
Calling the police is critical if you are the victim of a violent or sexual crime. However, you may also have civil legal rights as well. Public businesses, such as clubs and hotels for example, have a responsibility to protect you on their premises. Proper security should be in place to ensure your safety. For instance, Coca-Cola and a nearby hotel were both sued for not providing adequate security after a spring break party goer was stabbed at a sponsored event.
- Events, Parties, and Places
Just like the Coca-Cola case above, Premises Liability pertains to any event whether you’re injured due to an accident at a house party, or on a business or public entity’s property. They have a duty to help keep you safe, and failing to do so by not providing adequate security or safe surroundings can make up the basis of a premises liability claim or possibly negligence. At Onder Law we can give you a free case review.
- Spring Break Cruisers
Some may take to the seas for Spring Break, if you are injured while on a cruise, you have legal rights too. But, injuries at sea, even while at port, will be governed by maritime law, and you’ll definitely want a qualified injury lawyer to help with these complex cases.
- Out-of-State Injuries
If you are injured out-of-state, realize the laws may be different. For example, Colorado is considered an “at-fault” state, meaning whomever caused the accident is responsible for damages. However, Florida and 12 other states are “no-fault” states meaning that drivers’ insurance must cover the cost of injuries and damages. To help navigate the state-specific rules and regulations you will likely require retaining legal help. At Onder Law we are equally at home in any state and can help you receive the compensation you deserve.
We want your and your loved ones Spring Break to be not only fun and memorable but safe! The CDC offers a list on how to help you stay safe.
Here’s to hoping you don’t need our services, but know we are here for you if you do.