Loved ones, co-workers, and friends come closer together during the holiday season. Whether it’s a holiday party or New Year’s celebration, other than food, everyone knows that alcoholic beverages are a must for any event.
But what legal risks are involved when you serve alcohol to guests at your holiday event? This blog will inform you of the liability issues relating to social host liability.
Social Host Liability
“Social host liability” is a legal concept which holds the host of a party or event liable for guests who became intoxicated and caused harm to a third party, in certain cases. In many states, the social host may be held responsible for serving alcohol to anyone who ends up injuring others due to being intoxicated. However, under Pennsylvania’s civil alcohol laws, only establishments who have a license to serve alcohol are responsible for what happens to their customers.
Who is at Fault?
In Pennsylvania, social hosts can only be held responsible if the injuries were caused by someone under the age of 21. The state of Pennsylvania stands strong by this, as they have been throwing out many cases in which the person was clearly intoxicated, but over the legal drinking age of 21.
The state feels that adults should be held fully accountable for their actions, as they are able to control the amount they drink, as well as the actions they make under the influence. While minors, on the other hand, aren’t believed to have that same level of responsibility and accountability for their actions.
The law in Pennsylvania dives even deeper, not only does the victim have to be a minor, the social host must have also knowingly furnished the alcohol to said minor. For instance, you host an event and your 17-year-old daughter is there with her friends. If your daughter were to drink your alcohol, without your consent and then get into a car accident, you would very likely never be held liable for any harm done. However, if you served her a mixed drink, you may be held liable.