When it comes to honoring special occasions, it is important to celebrate responsibly, whether hosting a party or going to one. So, if you were injured in an accident after being over-served alcohol as a guest of someone else, or at a bar or restaurant, you may be entitled to certain compensation to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and related damages.
Continue reading to learn how a host of a party can be held legally liable for the actions of their drunken guests, as well as, where to learn more about your potential personal injury case.
Social Hosting and Liability
Informally known as “social host liability”, those who host parties might be held responsible for the actions of their drunken guests under law. Whether a guest got in a car accident, suffered alcohol poisoning, or was a minor, all after being served too much, the provider of the alcohol could face legal repercussions, both civilly and criminally, depending on the state and the circumstances of the case.
You see, these social host liability laws differ from state to state. There are some states do not have any laws regarding social host liability at all, so in the case of an accident, the host of the party would not be held liable for any damages that occurred as a result of their guest’s intoxication. Some states do have laws, but the laws do not hold hosts liable. Others have laws that specify detailed circumstances in which a host would be liable.
States like California and New York, for instance, have laws the protect social hosts from any liability, stating that the legal cause of damages is alcohol consuming, not providing. Then there are states like New Jersey that give victims of drunk driving accidents legal recourse to recover damages from a social host under certain circumstances, such as the host gave a visibly intoxicated guest more alcohol that created an “unreasonable risk of foreseeable harm”.
For states like North Carolina, no laws exist regarding social host liability, therefore, hosts cannot be sued for damages incurred by guests that became inebriated at their party. However, negligence laws do still apply, which means victims could still have another legal recourse to collect compensation for their damages. In this case, the victim would have to prove negligence by showing that the host failed to act reasonably, as the average person would, by giving the guest alcohol, and that providing the alcohol was the direct cause “of the victim’s damages.
Dram Shop Laws
When an establishment is negligent in over-serving their guests or patron’s alcohol, they can be held legally responsible under Dram Shop Laws. Most states have Dram Shop laws, which are intended to give victims an opportunity to sue for damages.
Indiana and Social Host Liability
Here in Indiana, social host laws are outlined in Indiana Code 7.1-5-7-8. These laws do not directly pertain to adult guests. Instead, Indiana social host liability laws govern serving alcohol to minors. Not only is it a crime under state and federal law, but the hosts can also face a civil lawsuit brought on by the guardians of the minor.
For adults who are over-served at a party, there are still laws that protect victims, such as negligence laws, dram shop laws, and premise liability laws. According to Indianapolis Defense Lawyer Jack Crawford, “Some folks think, ‘hey, you came to my party. I wasn’t charging you drinks, you were helping yourself out in the kitchen I don’t know what kind of condition you are, so I don’t have any legal responsibility.’ That’s not true. (….) If that person leaves your party in a visibly intoxicated state, stumbling and slurring their speech and you know they’re the driver, if they get involved in a traffic accident and injure someone or cause property damage, or even worse cause someone’s death, then the family of the victim can come against your homeowner’s insurance policy,”
Would you like to learn more about your Indianapolis personal injury case? Contact Carl Brizzi LAW at 317-636-7497 to schedule a free consultation with our licensed Indianapolis Indiana accident injury attorneys who can determine the best strategies for your pedestrian accident claim.
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