No matter the occasion, hosting a party is a lot of work. The host has to make decisions regarding food, decorations, the guest list and what kinds of beverages to serve. After making these decisions, the host then has to take care of the actual physical preparations. But, duties as a host go far beyond these kinds of decisions. The host may also have to shoulder liability for any alcohol-related injuries if he or she is serving beer, wine or liquor at the special event.
While some states limit social host liability laws to minors, other states, including Connecticut, have extended these laws to apply to any guest that consumes alcohol at a party.
In general, common law does not hold the host responsible for any injuries or deaths that happen as a result of a guest consuming alcohol. However, like with many other laws, there are exceptions. For example, adults have the responsibility to deny alcoholic beverages to minors. If a minor imbibes alcohol due to the host's negligence or intentional act, and is involved in a car accident, the host could be liable if he or she should have known that the minor would be driving. Even if a guest of legal drinking age becomes involved in a car accident after drinking at a party or event, the host might still be liable under common law.
As mentioned above, most social liability laws are in place to limit the risk of an injury or death involving a minor. These laws place liability on an adult host or parent to not serve or give alcohol to any minors.
Extended social host liability laws
Connecticut, along with 17 other states, has social host liability laws that extend to guests of all ages. This means that no matter the age of the guests, the host could find him- or herself facing a court case if an injury or death occurs because of an intoxicated guest's actions.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to the actions of a drunk driver, it is important to remember that you have options. Not only can you take legal action against the driver, but you might be able to file a claim against the social host if the driver was consuming alcohol at a party.