Time and again, we’ve heard about this type of scenario playing out somewhere in our state: An individual goes to a party and starts drinking. He is having a great time and throwing back drink after drink. At the end of the night, he stumbled out to his vehicle and heads home. On the way home, he hits and kills a pedestrian crossing the road. It’s a horrible situation but one that unfortunately happens every year in our state.
In this type of situation, one might wonder who is to blame. There is pretty obvious blame that can be put on the driver, but what about the host of the party? This is where premises liability law comes into play and it can differ widely state to state.
Some states have dram shop laws. This type of law can hold businesses liable for continuing to serve alcohol to a clearly intoxicated person who then ends up injuring another person. That business could then be found liable for any injuries suffered by the victim. In some states, this type of law also covers social hosts.
Other states have specific social host laws. In fact, have social host liability laws that are considered general and nine states have such laws that pertain specifically to minors. As you can imagine, if someone serves a minor alcohol and that minor ended up dying in a drunk driving accident, the person who provided the alcohol could and should be held liable.
These types of situations are definitely not cut and dry so it makes sense to work with an attorney to understand what your options are. Many people may feel uncomfortable trying to place blame on someone else if their loved one died in this type of scenario, but it’s important to remember that there are often state laws that govern liability in such cases.