It’s that time of year again, when holiday parties abound and the number of buzzed drivers or intoxicated drivers on the roads increase, putting many innocent pedestrians, drivers, bicyclists, and motorists at risk. We may know that a person who gets behind a wheel after drinking and causes an auto accident can be held liable for the damages they cause, but what about the person or business who supplied the driver with the alcohol?
According to the California Supreme Court, social hosts who charge a cover to attend their parties can potentially be held liable for injuries caused by their drunken underage guests. Social host liability imposes liability on social hosts as a result of their serving alcohol to adults or minors. Persons subject to social-host liability in civil lawsuits are generally those that provided alcohol to the obviously intoxicated or to minors who subsequently are involved in vehicle crashes or other activities causing death or injury to third parties. A social host is most often a private individual who serves alcohol in a non-commercial setting.
While the case above typically applies to bars or clubs that charge an admission fee, it can also apply to house parties where underage attendees are required to “pitch in a few bucks” for food and alcohol. In California, a person who charges admission to a party and serves alcohol to an intoxicated minor can be just as responsible for the minor’s actions as a person who directly sells alcohol to a drunken minor. It is also important to note that adult party hosts can also be held liable if they simply serve alcohol to a minor who then causes an accident.
In some states, laws hold social hosts liable for accidents caused by drunken guests of any age who are served alcohol by the host. In other states, social host liability only applies when a host provides alcohol to obviously intoxicated guests under 21. In California, the law generally makes a social host immune from liability for drunken guests — unless the host sells alcohol to a drunken minor who then gets into an accident. Indeed, party hosts of any age who charge a cover and serve alcohol to drunken minors can potentially be sued over those intoxicated guests’ actions.
If you or a loved one were injured by a drunk driver or buzzed driver, you may be recover financial compensation from both the driver and the place of business / homeowner who served the driver alcohol. To discuss your potential for financial recovery, contact experienced Woodland Hills personal injury attorney Barry P. Goldberg today.