Liability in MA for Social Host Liability Home Parties

Home Party LiabilityMany social hosts are unaware of their legal responsibilities in Massachusetts when holding a party in their home. However, Mass. state legislators have enacted laws to safeguard the public against intoxicated drivers who have just left the bar, tavern, restaurant or home party. Social host liability laws in Massachusetts (Mass.) holds social hosts responsible for every guest at the party under certain cirumstances to ensure they do not consume an overabundance of alcoholic beverages and then drive home intoxicated.

The majority of social hosts in MA are unaware that they have personal legal consequences if a drunken guest at the party becomes involved in a vehicle accident after leaving. Legally, a social host is any individual hosting a social gathering in their home as a private individual or part of an organization, company or association.

While it is obvious that the social host In Massachusetts (MA) can be held financially liable if they negligently encourage the guests at the party to consume excessive alcohol after they are obviously already drunk. However, there are other conditions where they can be found legally responsible for their recklessness and negligence, including:

• Serving alcohol to a minor
• Serving alcohol when it is known, or should be known, that the individual is already intoxicated
• Serving excessive alcohol to an individual the host knows will be driving afterwards

Third Party Defendant

Typically, a victim suffering injuries from a drunk driver who has just left a social event has a legal right to file a claim or lawsuit against the social host as a third party. Usually, the social host is not legally liable for any injuries occurring to the drunken guest. However, any passenger riding with the drunken guest likely has a legitimate claim for financial compensation against the host.

To minimize liability, the social host should contact their homeowner’s insurance carrier to review their policy. This will ensure that they have adequate coverage should they be held legally negligent if a drunken guest injures a victim. The extent of their liability is not just for vehicle accidents, but any type of accident that can cause injury to another while the guest is intoxicated.

Other ways to minimize liability include:

• Find another venue to hold the event
• Use a professional bartender to serve the alcoholic beverages responsibly
• Set up a designated driver program to ensure that every drunken guests is driven home safely
• Always serve food and nonalcoholic beverages including water, coffee and tea
• Never pressure any guest to consume alcohol by refilling their glass when empty
• Stop serving alcohol as the event is winding down and switch to soft drinks, tea and coffee
• If there is no designated driver, call a taxi for the drunken guest or provide them the option of sleeping over

When the social host limits their own alcohol intake, they are better able to determine when others have consumed too much.

Even though the host is holding the event at their own home, they can limit the amount of alcohol consumption by hosting a cash bar only. When the invited guests have to pay for the liquor, they are often less likely to become drunk from excessive drinking.

Filing a Claim in Massachusetts

If a drunken driver leaves a party intoxicated and injures another person through an intentional or unintentional action, the injured victim has the legal right to sue every individual and entity at fault including the party host. By filing a claim or Ma Injury lawsuit, the injured victim can seek financial compensation to cover their losses, damages and injuries adequately.

Mass. Personal injury attorneys will build a strong case around the state’s dram shop liability laws to prove legal liability of the social host to obtain compensation for their client.

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