Midland & Odessa Personal Injury Attorneys
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Your Responsibilities as a Social Host

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.