If you plan on hosting a holiday party this year, you may want to educate yourself on the rules of social host liability before you serve alcohol to your guests. Social host liability laws state that any person who provides alcohol to a guest can be held legally responsible for the guest’s injuries if he or she is injured as a result of consuming too much alcohol. While these laws apply to anyone who serves alcohol to their guests, the laws are generally only imposed on hosts who serve alcoholic beverages to guests who are under the age of 21.
If an intoxicated guest has been injured after leaving your house, he or she may be able to file a personal injury claim against you. There are two types of social host liability cases, depending on the circumstances:
- First Party Social Host Liability: This case occurs when the injured person is the one who was served alcoholic beverages.
- Third Party Social Host Liability: In this type of case, the person injured is not the intoxicated guest, but a third party. For example, if you were hit by a drunk driver who had been drinking at a party, you could file a third person social host liability case against the party host.
How to be a Responsible Host
The Insurance Information Institute offers the following tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable party for everyone:
- Research your state laws. Understand the social host liability laws in your state before planning your next party.
- Consider another location for your party. Rather than having it at your house, consider hosting a party at a restaurant or bar.
- If hosting a work function, be mindful of your responsibilities. While you may not be liable for your employees’ actions, you may be responsible if the individual is behaving within the scope of his or her employment. For example, if attending the party in question was mandatory, and the employee was injured after drinking too much, then it is likely that the court will find you liable because the employee was acting within the scope of their employment.
- Insist on designated drivers: Urge guests to decide who in their group will be responsible for driving everyone home.
- Always provide food and offer non–alcoholic beverage options. This can help prevent guests from drinking too much, too quickly on an empty stomach.
- Do not encourage guests to overdrink. Just because a guest’s glass is empty does not mean you should automatically fill it up.
- Be responsible. If a guest has had too much to drink, or seems overly tired, either arrange for a ride with another guest, call a cab, or invite them to spend the night at your house.
Delaware Personal Injury Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Advocate for Injured Parties
If you have questions about social host liability, or you have been injured by someone who had been drinking at a party, you are urged to contact the Delaware personal injury lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC as soon as possible. Our dedicated team has extensive knowledge of social host liability law and we will take aggressive measures to determine who is responsible for your injuries. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 302-888-1221 or contact us online. We represent clients throughout Pennsylvania, including Delaware County and Chester County, Delaware, and New Jersey.