A Good Host’s Duties Might Not End with the Party
Summer is a busy celebration season. Graduation parties, cookouts, and pool parties dot the landscapes of many people’s social calendars. If alcohol is being served, the hosts of these gatherings should be aware of potential liability issues.
Over the last century, most states have established “dram shop” laws. These laws allow third-party lawsuits to be filed against restaurants, bars, and sports venues, among other licensed alcohol vendors, who sell alcoholic beverages to patrons whom they knew—or should have known—were intoxicated who go on to injure others or cause property damage.
“Social host liability” laws are similar to dram-shop statutes but may hold accountable any individual who serves alcohol to a guest. This includes homeowners or tenants who host a gathering at their private residence. However, social host liability laws vary widely from state to state. For instance, some states do not impose any liability on social hosts unless the intoxicated person was a minor. Some states limit liability to injuries or damages occurring on the host’s premises, while others extend beyond the gathering’s location (e.g., drunk driving).
If you are hosting a special event at your home, enjoy yourself. But if you are serving alcohol, it’s not enough to focus on having enough food, a clean house, and so forth. Exercise proper oversight of your guests, too—for their well-being and your own. And if you become the victim of a drunk person’s actions, be aware that they might not be the only party responsible. Call Corradino & Papa, LLC; they can help you sort out your options.