Most states have laws that hold hosts liable for harm that occurs after a minor is provided with alcohol. Some states have non-specific host liability laws which cover anyone who drinks to the point where they cause harm to themselves or others. These laws hold hosts liable for property damage as well and they apply equally to all intoxicating substances.
Common Law and Host Liability
While common law holds that social hosts aren’t responsible for alcohol-related injuries, there are exceptions, for instance, adults are obligated to keep alcohol out of the hands of minors and they can be held liable if they knew that a minor would drive drunk. It’s more rare for a host to be held liable for an adult guest’s actions and these cases typically involve DUI crashes. Such claims are usually filed by an accident attorney in Sacramento, CA on the grounds of negligence.
Adults and Underage Drinking
Most liability laws are aimed at reducing injuries and deaths of minors, they impose a care duty on hosts not to give minors alcohol. Furnishing alcohol is making it available, while serving it is knowingly providing it to someone who’s underage so, if a social host furnishes or serves alcohol to a minor and that minor then causes serious injury or death, the host can be held legally liable for damages.
Laws on host liability vary by state; some give immunity while others impose strict liability. Eighteen states have general statutes and nine others have laws that specifically pertain to minors; for instance, in New Jersey, social hosts can be held responsible for injuries caused by intoxicated guests who operate a vehicle. Some statutes hold adults responsible for harm caused by intoxicated minors and these laws apply to any adult party host who gives, sells or delivers alcohol or drugs to the minor.
Finding Legal Help
As can be gathered from the information above, social host responsibility depends heavily upon the jurisdiction. Because these cases depend on individual facts, injured parties and social hosts alike should call Sevey Donahue & Talcott, accident attorneys in Sacramento, CA . Most lawyers offer free consultations, and they can give objective advice as to a case’s merits.
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