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Liability for Serving Alcohol in California

It is an unfortunate reality that law enforcement cannot catch and stop every drunk driver on America’s roadways. Every year, more than 10,000 people are killed in an incident related to drunk driving. There are many more who are injured in accidents due to one hasty decision to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle after consuming alcoholic beverages.

Those who have admitted to drinking and driving at least one time in the past seem to articulate many different reasons that led to the ultimate decision to drink and drive. Many individuals are aware that drinking and driving could lead to serious criminal consequences. However, many are not aware that drinking and driving could also lead to a civil lawsuit for damages that resulted from the accident.

Many states have taken a no-nonsense approach to drinking and driving, given the seriousness of the offense. Every state has criminal penalties imposed for driving under the influence and accidents caused because of drunk driving. In addition, in many states, an individual may find themselves responsible for any damages caused as a result of accidents or injuries due to intoxication. However, in some limited circumstances, liability may transfer to the person providing the alcohol if a state has provisions related to Dram Shop or social host liability.

If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident or incident due to drunk driving contact Glotzer & Leib, LLP for a no-risk initial consultation. Glotzer & Leib, LLP is a personal injury law firm located in Los Angeles, California. Our team of attorneys are experienced personal injury litigators who are able to assist you in obtaining relief against the person who caused your injuries.

UNDERSTANDING DRAM SHOP AND SOCIAL HOST LIABILITY

Dram Shop liability refers to the liability of an establishment when an individual causes an accident as a result of intoxicated driving. Dram Shop liability seeks to hold vendors, bars, or other organizations liable when an employee or agent of the organization continues to serve alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person. Usually, dram shop laws cover organizations licensed to sell alcoholic beverages.

Social host liability refers to the liability of an individual, as opposed to a business entity, as a result of intoxicated driving. Take the following scenario as an example of social host liability:

An individual hosts a house party for a sporting event such as Super Bowl Sunday. The homeowner has a full bar available for guests to consume beverages as they please. One of the guests becomes intoxicated but continues to drink. Two hours later, the individual leaves the party without the knowledge of any of the attendants and plows through a red light which hospitalizes an unsuspecting victim.

In some states, social host liability would make the homeowner liable for providing alcohol to a visibly intoxicated individual.

DRAM SHOP AND SOCIAL HOST LIABILITY LAWS IN THE UNITED STATES

Each state has the ability to determine the penalties imposed for providing alcohol to an intoxicated individual. States are all over the spectrum when it comes to drafting these provisions. Some states have held that not only are the businesses who employ individuals that serve visibly intoxicated persons subject to harsh fines or penalties, they are also exposed to a civil lawsuit by any person harmed as a result of that individual’s decision to drink and drive (or family member in cases involving wrongful death). Other states are either extremely limited or have laws that do not allow Dram Shop or social host liability in drunk driving incidents.

CALIFORNIA LAWS REGARDING DRAM SHOP AND SOCIAL HOST LIABILITY

California law is more limited than many other states when it relates to dram shop and social host liability. California has decided that dram shop and social host liability will not apply in any cases where an adult consumes alcoholic beverages. Therefore, establishments cannot be held liable for any injuries that occur as a result of an establishment serving an intoxicated adult.

However, the rules relating to dram shop and social host liability differs when there is alcohol available to a minor and that minor becomes intoxicated and subsequently causes injury. In these scenarios, both establishments and social hosts may be liable for injuries that occur when a minor causes an accident or incident. The law provides that qualified individuals can initiate a claim against a parent, guardian, or another individual who knowingly furnishes alcoholic beverages at his or her residence to a person whom he or she knows, or should have known, to be under 21 years of age.

CONTACT JOSHUA W. GLOTZER, APC FOR ASSISTANCE

The attorneys at Glotzer & Leib, LLP realize how devastating a drunk driving accident can be. The unexpected losses takes a toll on the entire family causing strife and financial strain. Although California significantly limits those individuals who may be held liable in a drunk driving incident there is still much relief available to a party injured as a result of drunk driving. A civil action may always be brought against the drunk driver who caused your injuries. If you or someone you know has been injured from a drunk driving accident, contact Glotzer & Leib, LLP to arrange an initial consultation. During your initial consultation, we will engage in a review of your claim, gather facts and information specific to your case, and provide you with information regarding the probability of success.

Our personal injury law firm is located in Los Angeles, California. We pride ourselves on achieving satisfactory results for our clients. If you have a personal injury claim and are in the Anaheim, Burbank, Costa Mesa, Downey, Lancaster, Ontario, Pasadena, or West Covina area, contact Glotzer & Leib, LLP for an initial consultation today. Our professional atmosphere, personalized representation, and consistent communication are what sets our firm apart from other firms. We look forward to assisting you with any of your personal injury needs.

If you need help, our Los Angeles personal injury lawyers are available to help you whenever you need it.

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