If you’re like many people, then one of the joys of the holiday months is having friends and family to your home for a fun get together. However, if you serve alcohol at your next holiday celebration, then you should be aware that you might be held legally responsible if one of your guests is the cause of an alcohol-related accident while behind the wheel.
Under something known as social host laws, you can be sued for a wreck you weren’t involved in if you gave the at-fault driver alcohol, which means you should learn as much as possible about these cases to protect your interests. Learn more about social host liability laws and find out how to protect yourself from a lawsuit with the help of a Paterson car accident lawyer.
What Are New Jersey’s Social Host Liability Laws?
Social host liability laws are actually very similar to something called dram shop laws. However, where dram shop laws are used for bars or restaurants that over serve customers, social host liability laws can be used for anyone that serves alcohol, not just an establishment.
Basically, this means that any time you serve alcohol to a guest in your home or your business, you may be held responsible if that person causes a major accident that results in injuries. If you’re planning a party or gathering where alcohol will be served, it’s important to be aware how much your guests are drinking so that you can cut them off before they become intoxicated.
Who Can Sue?
In these sorts of lawsuits involving the host of a party or gathering, there are actually two different forms of case with which you should be familiar. As with dram shop cases, social host liability laws are eligible for first party and third party suits.
In a first party case, the person bringing the suit will be the guest who was over-served and then was involved in an injurious single car accident. Third party cases are filed by another person who was injured by the intoxicated guest. Most commonly, you will face a third party case, as first party cases are notoriously difficult to win based on the rules of personal responsibility.
Every state has different rules for filing these kinds of liability suits, so you should be sure to bring questions about your state’s rules to a Peterson car accident lawyer.
As with any personal injury and liability case, one of your most vital tasks is to be aware of ways you need to prove fault. For cases involving over serving alcohol, the two common ways fault will be proved is through recklessness or intentional actions.
In most cases, social host liability cases that are limited to cases involving minors are where intentional actions come into play. If you intentionally serve alcoholic beverages to someone you know to be under the legal drinking age, then you will be very vulnerable to a lawsuit if that person causes a drunk driving accident.
Cases involving recklessness usually involve ignoring or disregarding unsafe situations. For example, you may continue to provide drinks to a guest who is obviously intoxicated and who will soon be driving. If the claimant tries to prove recklessness, you will need to show that you either did not know your guest was drunk or that you actively tried to prevent the dangerous situation from occurring.
Consult with a Peterson Car Accident Lawyer
If you have been injured because someone drank too much at a party and was behind the wheel, a Paterson car accident lawyer from Peter N. Davis & Associates, LLC can help. Our knowledgeable, compassionate legal team can help you make sure that not only are the irresponsible driver and host be held responsible but that you get maximum compensation under the law.
Speak with one of our representatives about your case today.