Isa homeowner responsible for an intoxicated partier that got into an accident after leavinga houseparty?

Home party supplied alcohol to 4 girls; 3 not legal to drink. They left the house party, all 4 intoxicated, and got into a vehicle accident 1 block away. While getting out of the vehicle 1 girl got hurt. The driver got a DUI and Assault because the girl said that she got hurt in an accident so she could leave and not receive minor in possession. The driver’s insurer has paid for the girl’s medical bills. Does the homeowner who had the house party have any financial responsibility to help the driver with costs associated with this mess?

Asked on December 31, 2010 under Personal Injury, Oregon

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

This question raises the issue of Social Host liability.  It is my understanding that if a person serves alcohol to a minor that is not their child or of which they are not a legal guardian they can be held criminally liable on many levels.  First, for serving the minor, which is obvious.  Next, if the person is visibly intoxicated and causes injury to a third party once they leave your home, you could also be held liable.  There is more to this rule and there is an exception as well.  I think that the best thing for you to do is to consult with a personal injury attorney who is familiar with the Social Host liability laws in your state.  Consultation should be free.  Good luck.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Yes, the homeowner could face financial responsibility. Oregon has a "social host" law which makes a social host responsible if either (1) he or she provided alcohol to a "visibly intoxicated guest" or (2) to a minor, if a reasonable adult would have either known the minor was a minor, or at least required/requested ID to check age. So if either the driver was obviously intoxicated or the homeowner either knew, should have known, or was careless in not knowing the driver's age, then the homeowner could be liable. The standard is similar to the standard for evaluating when a bar might be liable for serving a guest. Here is a link to a website which you may find helpful or informative: http://www.socialhostliability.org/NHTSA/Oregon.pdf.


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