Can a Party Host Be Held Liable for a Drunk Driving Accident?

Party guests holding alcoholic drinks

The summer season brings many holidays and events with the warm weather. The Fourth of July, Memorial Day, and graduation are just a few of the occasions that may bring about barbecues, pool parties, and other social events. While a host’s primary concern may be replenishing the food and drinks for their guests, it is important to also be aware of the potential impacts of serving alcohol at a social gathering.

When alcohol is involved at hosted events, a host should be conscious of their legal responsibilities owed to attendees. Attendees overindulging could result in more than just a damper on the mood of a party. Drinking and driving home from a social gathering could result in a drunk driving accident, putting lives at risk.

Drinking and Driving from a Hosted Event

The unfortunate possibility of drinking at social gatherings is that some attendees, against better judgement, may choose to drive afterwards. This can not only harm innocent drivers on the road, but also put the host of the gathering in a sticky situation regarding liability.

In the instance that someone becomes intoxicated at an event and proceeds to cause injury, the host of the event could be held liable if the alcohol was provided unlawfully. This is an important factor for hosts to keep in mind when planning events that involve alcohol. For example, if an attendee from a party were to drive home drunk and cause an accident, the injured plaintiff could sue the host as well as the offending attendee.

New York’s Dram Shop Act allows individuals that were harmed due to someone’s intoxication to hold the hosting party accountable for damages caused. This legislation usually targets those who served alcohol to minors or visibly intoxicated individuals.

Establishing Negligence of a Host

A host could be sued for general negligence if an adult attendee causes a drunk driving accident following a social event. For the host to be found negligent, it must be proven that the host knew the drunk driver was showing signs of visible intoxication, and still allowed them to operate their vehicle. Visible signs of intoxication can include but are not limited to:

  • Vomiting
  • Inability to stand
  • Slurred speech
  • Slowed coordination
  • Decreased balance

If it can be proven that the host of a party noticed these signs in an attendee and still served them alcohol and allowed them to drive, an injured party could potentially have a negligence case against the host. An experienced attorney could provide more insight into how a negligence case could arise from the unlawful serving of alcohol.

Contact a Dedicated Car Accident Attorney Today

Drunk driving accidents can often be damaging and even fatal. Depending on the circumstances of an accident, the injured may be able to pursue damages from the driver as well as the individual that served alcohol to the driver.

The experienced Lawyers at Goldstein and Bashner understand the complexities of pursuing drunk driving damages and could help you seek the compensation that you deserve for your injuries. Reach out today to learn more about what a skilled attorney could do for you.

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