Social Host Liability: Drinking and Driving
Tis’ the season of parties and where there are parties, there is usually alcohol. Many people open their homes to friends, family, employees, and clients to celebrate the season. It is imperative for hosts to understand, however, that if you serve alcohol in your home or some other social setting, you could end up facing legal consequences if one of your guests drives drunk and injures someone, or if a guest is under the legal drinking age of 21. Washington State’s social host liability laws (and other similar laws around the country) are in place to put responsibility on hosts not to allow inebriated guests to drive home and to discourage underage drinking parties.
The statistics don’t lie. During the Christmas and New Year period, the average number of fatalities involving an alcohol-impaired driver rise by more than 30 percent, on average.
According to the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), 40 percent of traffic-related deaths during the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s involve drunk drivers, a 12 percent increase over the rest of the month of December.
Washington State Social Host Liability
A social host is a person who provides free alcohol to guests in their home or some other private venue such as a rented hall.
Washington State has social host liability laws applicable to guests of all ages. Generally, if you are a social host and you knowingly provide alcohol to already intoxicated or underage guests, you could be liable for any damages or injuries they cause.
For example, if an intoxicated guest causes personal injury to another guest or leaves your party and injures someone while driving home, you could be held liable. You could also be sued by a minor or his/her parents for serving alcohol at your home or private event.
If you are being sued for social host liability or believe that you have a case against a social host please contact a local personal injury attorney right away.
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!