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Are Holiday Party Hosts Liable for Drunk Driving Accidents?

Dan Brian   |  December 15, 2017   |  

Harmed by a drunk driver? Call our office for help.Are you planning to throw a holiday party for your employees, family members or friends? If you are going to be serving alcohol at this party, then you should be aware that you could be held liable if one of your guests harms themselves or another person in a drunk driving accident.

North Carolina law does hold the host responsible for drunk driving accidents in some cases. Social host liability could apply if you provided alcohol for the guest, you knew or should have known they were intoxicated, and you knew they would later be driving a vehicle. Depending on the circumstances, you could be liable for damages caused by the drunk driving accident.

Can Party Hosts Prevent Their Guests from Drunk Driving?

There are ways you could plan the party beforehand that may reduce the chances of guests drinking to excess. In addition, there are steps you could take if someone appears intoxicated.

  • You could offer to arrange transportation for an intoxicated guest. For example, you could call Uber, Lyft or a taxi for that person.
  • If the guest is family or a very close friend, then you may offer to let them stay in a guest room or on a couch.
  • You could stop serving alcohol after a certain period. This may prevent your guests from drinking too much. It could also allow any alcohol to leave their system.
  • You could provide for safe transportation before or after the party. For instance, paying for a taxi or ridesharing service for guests that plan to drink.
  • You could provide nonalcoholic beverages or food. Guests could choose between nonalcoholic or alcoholic beverages.
  • Never pressure your guests into drinking (even small amounts). It is a bad idea to pressure someone for several reasons.
  • You could also monitor and cut off guests who appear impaired.

Do You Have Questions About Holiday Drunk Driving Accidents?

Drunk driving accidents increase between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. We can all play a role in keeping North Carolina roads safe for everyone. If you or a loved one is harmed by a drunk driver during the holidays, we encourage you to speak with one of our attorneys. The North Carolina car accident lawyers at Riddle & Brantley, LLP could explain your legal options during a free consultation.

At Riddle & Brantley, LLP, Justice Counts.