Member Of:
Justia Lawyer Rating
Avvo Rating
Super Lawyers

Social Host Liability

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious crime and can cause grave injuries to numerous people. People often become intoxicated at parties before getting behind the wheel and injuring someone. If a drunk driver was served at a private party, Massachusetts imposes no criminal punishment on the host of the party. However, it does impose civil liability. Although there is no statute in Massachusetts to impose civil liability on a social host, the Supreme Judicial Court established liability in McGuiggan v. New England Telephone and Telegraph Co., 398 Mass. 152, 162 (1986). Because of the law created by the SJC in that case, a social host of a private party is liable for harm to third parties caused by an adult guest if the host knew or should have known that the guest was intoxicated, yet served that guest more alcohol.

In McGuiggan, a third party was killed in a car accident after the driver was served alcohol by the host of a party. The SJC stated in McGuiggan that the duty of care that creates potential liability is based on the social host's ability to control the liquor supply. A social host has the duty to ensure that they are not serving already intoxicated people more alcohol. Therefore, no liability exists unless the alcohol being consumed belongs to the host. A statute in Massachusetts creates liability for bartenders who serve an intoxicated person more alcohol when that person injures someone through drunk driving. Because of the standard in McGuiggan, however, a person injured by a drunk driver could not bring a claim against someone who buys their intoxicated friend a drink in a bar if that intoxicated friend then injured someone driving drunk. The case only imposes liability on someone who had control of the alcohol and had the authority to deny further service of alcohol when intoxication is apparent.

If you are involved in an accident with a Massachusetts drunk driver, or if you have been injured by the actions of an intoxicated patron, you may have a claim. You maybe have a claim against, the drunk driver, as well as the person or establishment that served the driver. If that person was served in a commercial establishment, you may have a claim against the bartender; if that person was served by a social host at a private party, you may have a claim against that social host due to their neglect of their duty of care under McGuiggan.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a drunk driver, you should contact an attorney immediately to determine what compensation you deserve. You could get compensation to cover medical bills, property damage, and other damages. If you have been injured due to a drunk driver, the last thing you need is an exorbitant amount of medical bills. Social host liability Attorney Cappetta can help you figure out this confusing and stressful experience. He may be able to help you get the compensation you deserve to get relief from expensive injuries and property damage. Contact social host liability Attorney Cappetta today if you have been injured due to an intoxicated person.