Social Hosts Not Protected Against Liquor Liability Laws

Everyone is aware of the huge costs of alcohol abuse - increased violence, debilitating or life-threatening car crashes, and other societal ills. Many are aware of businesses' legal obligations to stop serving alcohol to visibly intoxicated patrons. But few are aware of the so-called "social host" liability - the legal responsibilities of social hosts who serve their guests alcohol. Not all states recognize social host liability, but those that do consider the obligations of a social host to be serious, especially in cases which involve drunk driving. What is a Social Host? Social hosts can range from being a small dinner party to a wedding, convention, family reunion or company party. A social host can be an individual, a corporation, or a group (such as a fraternity or social organization).

The size of the gathering is inconsequential - from a single guest to a guest list of thousands, the social host can carry a hefty financial burden under social host liability. When is a Social Host Liable? A social host is liable for injuries (physical and financial) suffered on the part of a guest who causes injury to a third person when the following requirements are met: * The person who caused harm to an individual or property was not served alcohol by the social host; * The social host knew, or should have known, that the person who caused the personal injury or property damage was intoxicated; and * The social host knew that the person who caused the personal injury or property damage would be driving after the social occasion. The important thing to note is that the social host is not automatically liable if their guest goes on to injure somebody or some property while intoxicated.

While the social host is cleared from liability if the individual did not appear intoxicated, other guests will be required to testify and confirm this as truth. Also, social hosts are protected from being sued by the intoxicated guests but third parties are able to because of the intoxicated guest's behavior. What A Social Host Can Do to Be Protected From Liability? The safest - and best - way of avoiding liquor liability, as a social host is clear - do not serve alcohol at social events. However, in the case that alcohol is served at your social event, know that you have taken on liability for your guests' actions. Here are some tips for avoiding the potentially weighty financial obligations that come with hosting events that serve alcohol: * Encourage designated drivers - provide non-alcoholic drinks for these guests and make sure they have the car keys.

* Keep the amount of alcohol to a minimum and monitor the consumption of guests. * Consider hiring bartenders. Although this may not fully protect you from liquor liability laws, it does lessen the threat of a lawsuit. Check to see if your homeowner's or business insurance covers liquor liability. You may be able to purchase single-event insurance for large events, such as company picnics or wedding receptions.

To learn more about social hosting and liquor liability laws, visit Also learn about issues ranging from mesothelioma cancer ( to the Chantix side effects and the Duragesic recall (

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