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Can party hosts be held liable for drunk driving injuries?

We talk a lot about premises liability on our blog and most people can think of a few general scenarios that fall under this liability umbrella. Commonly heard cases, such as a slip-and-fall accident on an icy sidewalk outside a hotel or an injury resulting from broken glass inside a grocery store, come to mind.

One type of premises liability case that many might not consider has to do with the consequences of what happens inside someone’s property. For example, if an establishment continues to serve alcohol to a clearly intoxicated individual and that individual ends up killing someone in a drunk driving accident, the owner of the establishment may be held liable.

The same may extend to homeowners. For example, if a teenager is served alcohol at a party and then he is fatally injured in a car crash while driving drunk after the party, the host of the party may be held liable. Many states have specific social host laws that come into play in these types of cases. Eighteen states have social host laws that pertain to individuals of all ages. Another nine states have laws that are specific to minors. For states that don’t have specific social host laws, homeowners may still be held liable under state dram shop laws.

When your family has lost someone due to the negligent actions of a party host, you may want to turn to an attorney to understand what laws apply to your case in the state of New York.

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