Social host liability is a real thing, and you should be fully informed of this legal responsibility before serving alcohol at your next soirée. Of course, not all states have social host liability laws, such as New York and California, but most do. So, do your part by learning what it takes to be a safe and responsible social host.
Key Facts Surrounding Social Host Liability
If you are planning to serve alcohol to guests at your next event or party, be sure you know where you stand in terms of legally liability. The law will hold you [and therefore your home owner’s insurance company] responsible for the actions and inactions of your intoxicated guests, including drinking and driving. In fact, DUI cases are among the most common scenarios in which social host liability comes into play. If you knowingly serve alcohol to an already-inebriated guest or over-serve alcohol to a formally-sober guest, and then they drive home, you can be held legally responsible for any damages and losses they cause while operating their vehicle under the influence of alcohol.
Whether they drunkenly decided to joyride across a private golf course, fall asleep at the wheel and hit a pedestrian, or cause a serious auto accident that results in bodily harm to another, responsibility for these incidents could link back to you if the driver got drunk at your party on your alcohol. In serious cases, a social host could face criminal charges on top of a civil lawsuit.
Social hosts also have a legal duty of care to ensure alcohol does not get in the hands of anyone who is under the legal drinking age. If you are caught serving alcohol to a minor, and that minor, under the influence of alcohol, drives and gets into an accident, you could be held civilly and criminally responsible. This also applies in some cases of unknowingly supplying alcohol to minors. In the case that your teenager and some friends steal the liquor from the cabinet, and then an accident takes place as a result of their intoxication, the law might hold the homeowners and legal guardians liable.
Dram Shop Laws
Restaurants must uphold this same duty of care. Dram Shop laws impose legal liability onto owners of bars, restaurants, liquor stores, and any other establishments that sell alcoholic beverages and products to intoxicated customers. These laws are set to protect individuals from harming themselves or others as a result of over-indulging in alcohol. For instance, it is possible for a victim of a drunk driving accident to sue the establishment that sold the drunk driver the alcohol, but only if the driver was already intoxicated at the time of the sell.
Were you or a loved one seriously injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver? Contact the Law Office of Craven, Hoover, and Blazek P.C. at 317-881-2700 to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced drunk driving accident lawyer in Indianapolis, Indiana. We represent all drunk driving cases throughout the state of Indiana, including car accidents, truck accidents, pedestrian accidents, motorcycle accidents, wrongful deaths, and more.