If you ride a motorcycle with somebody who is drinking are you liable?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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If you ride a motorcycle with somebody who is drinking are you liable?

I have a roommate who always wants us to ride together, him on his motorcycle and myself on my motorcycle. He always has a few alcoholic beverages before he rides. I am an aspiring nurse. If I decide to ride with him even on a separate motorcycle am I liable if he crashes for having prior knowledge?

Does us being roommates affect anything?

Does me have a healthcare professional have any bearing on this?

I live in California and thank you so much for your prompt response.

Asked on April 17, 2019 under Criminal Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Legally, you would not be liable: one adult is not responsible for another adult's actions, even a roommate, and even if you have prior knowledge of their risky behavior, unless the second adult contributed to the harmful conduct. So as long as you don't let him ride your motorcycle when he is intoxicated or don't serve or buy him the beers, you are not liable for what he does.
However, that's legally. It is possible that a prospective or actual healthcare employer, where your friend to be in a DUI accident with you and the employer becomes aware of that, decide that you showed poor judgment and either decline to hire you or terminate you if you are already working for them. Remember: employment is "employment at will"; there is no right to a job. This would look bad for a healthcare professional, to ride with an intoxicated person. You are encouraged to not do this.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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