Social Host Liability: Enjoy the Football Season but Encourage Responsible Drinking at Parties

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Fall football season is nearly here and local FSU fans can’t wait for the action to get started. Stadiums full of garnet and gold clad fans, marching chiefs, and games of cornhole frisbee are all things that fans can look forward to this fall. Of course, there is often plenty of beer as well.

While people go to football games, picnics, and parties to have a good time, sometimes bad things happen. Perhaps someone falls down a flight of stairs and breaks an arm or trips and hits his or her head. Other times someone leaves the party and gets into an accident. Regardless of the exact circumstances, these gameday accidents often result in someone ending up in the emergency department or trauma department at a local hospital, requiring medical treatment for serious injuries. Under the worst circumstances, gameday accidents can result in someone dying or being killed due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional wrongful actions of someone else.

Game day accidents frequently can be related to alcohol consumption so it is important that anyone planning on hosting a party or get-together understand the potential liability involved in being a social host, as well as take precautions to avoid the liability risks associated with serving alcohol to others.

Florida Social Host Liability Law

The term “social host” refers to someone who hosts a social gathering. It can include private individuals, employers, and other organizations. Depending on the laws of a particular state, social hosts may be held liable for injuries suffered by their guests and/or third parties who are harmed by someone who was served alcohol by the social host.

In Florida, section 768.125 of the state statutes specifically lays out the circumstances under which someone can be held liable for injury or damage resulting from someone else’s intoxication. It says that a social host who sells or furnishes alcoholic beverages to a person who is under age 21 can be held liable for any injuries or damages that the underage person causes while he or she is intoxicated. The statute also provides that social hosts can be held liable for injuries or damages caused by serving alcohol to a “habitually addicted” person.

Based on Florida’s statute, individuals who allow underage drinking on property that they own, lease, or control can be held liable if they serve a minor or known alcoholic who then causes property damage or personal injuries to him or herself, or another person. Individuals who could potentially be liable include parents, older siblings or friends, relatives, or neighbors. There also may be no relationship between the social host and the person who causes the damages or injuries, such as when party crashers invade the festivities.

Avoiding Social Host Liability

There are several liability prevention tips for social hosts. Social hosts should:

– Have an alcohol-free party or serve predominantly non-alcoholic beverages.

– Never purchase alcohol for minors.

– Never serve or allow alcohol to be served to minors in your home or on your party.

– Prevent alcohol from being served to or by minors when you are not home.

– Never purchase alcohol for minors.

– Be alert to guests who are becoming drunk and stop serving them alcohol.

– Limit your own drinking in order to look after your guests.

– If guests drink too much, arrange alternate transportation for them, such as by arranging a ride or calling a cab, or by having them sleep over rather than drive. Call authorities if necessary to prevent an intoxicated person from driving.

– Remind guests to wear seatbelts on their way home.

– Don’t drink and drive yourself.

Tallahassee Legal Help For Drunk Driving Injury

Every 90 seconds someone is injured and every 53 minutes someone is killed by a drunk driver in the United States. At Fasig & Brooks, we help people who have had their lives forever changed due to the negligence or wrongful conduct of others, including drunk drivers. If you or a loved one has been injured due to a Tallahassee area alcohol-related accident, call our DUI accident lawyers to learn your legal options today online or at (850) 222-3232.