We like to think of the holidays as a time for fellowship and fun, for gatherings, good food, good friends, and parties. Unfortunately, on the downside, every year we see a massive uptick in DUI arrests and even accidents that cause serious injuries and fatalities.
While it’s tempting to place all the blame on the drunk drivers, the truth is, there’s a legal concept called social host liability, which you need to be aware of. Learn why hosts need to watch how much their guests drink, and why having a Greenville car accident lawyer is essential to getting compensation for injuries.
Social Host Liability
Many states have what are known as dram laws. These laws hold bars, liquor stores and restaurants responsible for accidents caused by those who bought alcohol in their establishments. South Carolina has a similar concept that applies to hosts of parties and gatherings. This is called social host liability.
What this means is that if you host a gathering or party in your home or apartment, you could be held liable for alcohol-related accidents and injuries if the alcohol was served at your place. You are considered at least partly legally responsible for the behavior of your guests, especially where alcohol is concerned.
Types of Social Host Cases
There are generally two types of cases under social host liability: first party and third party cases. First party cases are those in which the intoxicated party becomes injured, and they blame the party host for serving them the alcohol.
For example, if someone gets drunk at your party, leaves your home and crashes into a wall, or falls and seriously harms themselves, they sue you for serving them alcohol. These cases are harder to push through because there is a legal assumption that people are responsible for their own actions. It’s hard, from a legal standpoint, to say, “it’s your fault I drank too much!” These cases are most often successful when the drinker was underage.
The second and more common, kind of case is the third party case. This is where someone gets drunk at your gathering and harms someone else. That third party can hold you responsible on the grounds that not only was the intoxicated party responsible, but you should’ve known to either stop serving them or stop them from leaving the party. Courts look more favorably on this type of case.
Liability and Recklessness
Liability in a social host case revolves not only around negligence on the part of the intoxicated person but on recklessness or intentional misconduct on the part of the person who served them alcohol. It revolves around the idea that the host either knew, or should have known, that serving alcohol was not in the best interests of the drinker.
Greenville Car Accident Lawyer
If you are injured in an accident by a drunk driver, it’s important to secure the services of a qualified Greenville car accident lawyer. You may be entitled to significant compensation, but you need an attorney to help you beat non-payment tactics used by insurance companies and prove negligence and fault in the case.
If you find yourself in a circumstance like this and need help and legal advice, Harris & Graves, P.A. are here to fight for your rights and get you justice. Contact us today for more information, and to review the details of your case—there’s no cost and no obligation for a consult.