Social host liability: are you liable if someone you served alcohol to gets into a car accident?

December is here and maybe you are considering throwing a holiday party. And, at your party, you are probably planning on serving alcoholic drinks. The question is often asked of us, “Am I liable if my guest drinks too much and then gets into an automobile accident?
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Social-host liability is really tricky for most people. You can’t always tell if a person is inebriated or not. Or, perhaps your guest insists that he or she is sober. If you have doubts, you are in the onerous position of forcibly taking away car keys or calling the police. Either way as the host, you lose. Your friend might punch you in the nose if you take his keys or if you get your friend arrested and thrown into jail, well, you have lost a friend.

So, what is a host to do? Are you a liable for damages?

The Supreme Court does not hold that a host owes a duty to prevent a third-party from leaving ones home. The only case when the State seeks to impose social host liability is in cases of underage drinkers. If a homeowner or host allows minors to become intoxicated or provides alcohol to minors and the minor is involved in a motor vehicle accident, then the host could be liable.

Of course you don’t want your friends driving drunk and suffering the consequences. The following tips can help:

  • Avoid serving throw-everything-into-it punches
  • Serve food
  • Provide non-alcoholic beverages too
  • Offer to let friends crash on the couch.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in Seattle motor vehicle accidents caused by drunken drivers. With our help, you may recover compensation for your damages.

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“Social host liability” laws and serving alcohol to minors

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or attorney@hgfarber.com to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. We have offices in Seattle and Bellevue to assist you.