Do dram shop laws apply to those hosting house parties?

On Behalf of | Jan 20, 2023 | DUI |

Maybe you plan on throwing a house party on Superbowl Sunday. If so, be careful about serving your guests alcohol. If they drive home drunk and cause a crash that injures someone else, you could be held liable for the crash.

How can I be liable for someone else’s car crash?

You may wonder how you can be liable for someone else’s drunk driving crash? After all, you were not the one who chose to drive drunk and you were not operating the vehicle at the time of the collision.

You can be held liable for drunk driving crashes via Georgia’s dram shop liability laws.

Georgia Code states that if you willfully serve alcoholic beverages to someone you know is noticeably intoxicated and will soon be operating a motor vehicle, you can be held liable for the injury or death of another person resulting from said intoxication.

Dram shop liability laws apply to bars and restaurants, but they also apply to social hosts. If you serve someone alcohol at your home, you are a social host. This means you are subject to dram shop liability laws.

Are dram shop laws fair?

It is fair to hold social hosts liable for serving intoxicated guests alcohol knowing they will soon be driving.

The drunk driver is directly responsible for causing a car crash that injures someone else. But the social host is also responsible for contributing to the drunk driver’s intoxication, knowing they were drunk and would soon drive, which could potentially lead to a drunk driving crash.

While dram shop liability is indirect liability, it is still important to hold social hosts liable for getting their guests drunk knowing they could injure someone else in a drunk driving crash.