Summertime is a time for enjoying the good weather and vacation time with
friends. Thinking about hosting a social gathering at your home? You’re
not alone. However, before you do it’s important to recognize how
you could be held liable should injuries happen as a result of your event.
While most homeowners know about premises liability and making sure people
aren’t injured while on their property, many also aren’t aware
they could be held responsible if one of their attendees leaves while
intoxicated and winds up causing an injury.
Social Host Liability
Texas is one of several states in the country to have both “dram
shop” laws and “social host liability” laws. These two
are essentially in the same spirit: those who serve alcohol to someone
could potentially be held liable if the intoxicated individual then leaves
and causes injuries to someone else. However, the laws in Texas are slightly
more specific than that.
For social hosts, the laws are a bit more forgiving. Texas Alcohol Beverage
Code Chapter 2 allows an injured person to seek damages from a social
host when a very specific set of criteria are met. Those criteria are:
A minor (someone under the age of 18) receives alcohol from an adult (over
the age of 21) who is
not their parent, guardian legal custodian, or spouse
The adult who provided the alcohol
knowingly served or provided the beverage or allowed the minor to drink the alcohol
on their property
These laws are essentially in place as a method for incentivizing homeowners
to make sure that those under the age of 21 are forbidden from drinking
alcohol. For example, if your high school child wants to host a barbecue
for their friends, and one of their friends brings a large box of beer
that their older sibling provided for them, you have an obligation to
forbid that alcohol from being consumed in your home. Even though you
did not expressly provide the alcohol, knowing that it is being consumed
by underage kids and not speaking up is enough to hold you liable in the
event one of these teenagers tries to drive after leaving.
You could be held liable for up to
two years after the accident happens, which means you could potentially face one
of these lawsuits at any time. Better to cover your bases and make sure
that all alcohol at your social gatherings is only consumed by those who
are old enough to legally do so.
The Midland injury lawyers at Dean Law Firm can help you or a loved one
after sustaining injuries as a result of drunk driving. Call us today
at (432) 214-8125 to
request a case evaluation and learn more.