As the holiday season approaches, many people are preparing to celebrate with friends and family. Festive gatherings often include alcohol, and while responsible drinking is encouraged, it’s vital to consider the legal implications of hosting a holiday party where alcohol is served.
One question often arises during this time—can the party host be held liable for their guests’ action: for instance, if a guest drives home drunk and causes an accident?
Knowing your rights under social host liability laws can help you get the compensation you deserve after a drunk driving accident.
Florida’s Social Host Liability Law
Instead of having separate social host liability laws (for alcohol served in a private setting, such as at a party in someone’s home) and dram shop liability laws (for alcohol sold in bars, restaurants, and other venues), Florida has one law covering both types of circumstances.
It makes alcohol-providers potentially liable for damages a drunk driver causes only if they served alcohol to someone who they knew was underage, or who they knew was an alcoholic.
This means you typically cannot sue the host of a party for any injuries or damages resulting from a guest’s drunk driving.
Liability falls on the individual who consumed the alcohol and chose to drive while impaired. With the help of a Miami drunk driving crash injury lawyer, you can file a claim with their liability insurance to receive compensation.
When Can You Sue a Party Host for Injuries?
While Florida law may not allow for social host liability in cases of drunk driving accidents, there are circumstances where you may be able to pursue legal action against a party host. These include:
- Premises liability cases: If you are hurt at the host’s home, you may have a case under personal injury negligence or premises liability. For example, if a drunk guest bumps into you at the party, and causes you to slip and fall, suffering a broken leg and concussion.
You might be able to file a claim against the host’s homeowner’s insurance for damages if there any dangerous conditions on the homeowner’s property that contributed to your injury, such as an unsecured rug or broken handrail.
- Underage drinking: In Florida, it is illegal to provide alcohol to a minor under the state’s dram law and criminal code 816.015. If the host broke this rule and knowingly served an underage person alcohol, they may face legal consequences. Statute 768.125 makes hosts liable if they knowingly serve alcohol to minors or a person with an alcohol addiction.
If a drunk party guest injures you, you would typically sue the individual first.
If their insurance doesn’t cover medical bills and losses related to your injuries, you might file a claim against the social host and get compensation through their homeowner’s insurance liability coverage.
Social Host Liability in Other States
Social host liability laws can vary from one state to another. Some states have more lenient laws, similar to Florida, while others have stricter regulations that allow for lawsuits against social hosts who serve alcohol to intoxicated guests.
For instance, in Georgia, you may be able to sue a social host who continues serving alcohol to an intoxicated guest, who then gets behind the wheel and causes your accident.
If you travel for the holidays and are hurt in a drunk driving crash, you may be able to sue a party host for your damages, depending on that state’s social liability laws.
Seek Legal Advice After a Drunk Driving Crash
If you’re hurt in a holiday drunk driving crash, you have the right to seek a settlement for your injuries. Our Florida car accident lawyers at Aigen Injury Law understand the complexities of social host liability laws in Florida and can help you determine the best legal action based on your circumstances.
Contact us today for a free consultation. We can review your case and help you file a claim against the negligent party to get you the compensation you deserve.