Social Host Liability
When a drunk driver injures you or someone you love, the person who over served that driver may also be liable. In Massachusetts, any commercial establishment that was licensed to serve alcohol and knowingly served alcohol to a person who then drove drunk may be legally and financially responsible to compensate the injured. If that drunk driver was served at a private party however, the state imposes no criminal punishment, but it does impose civil liability. Although there is no statute in Massachusetts that imposes civil liability on a social host, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts established social host liability in McGuiggan v. New England Telephone and Telegraph Co., 398 Mass. 152, 162 (1986).
Similar to the statutory liability imposed on commercial establishments, such as a bar or restaurant, a social host of a private party is liable for harm to a third party, caused by an adult guest if the host knew or should have known that the guest was intoxicated and served him anyway.
In McGuiggan, a third party was killed in a car accident after the driver was served alcohol by the host of a graduation party. The Court enumerated in McGuiggan that the duty of care giving rise to possible liability is based upon the host's ability "to control the liquor supply" and thus does not exist unless "the alcohol being consumed belongs to the host." Therefore, liability is not imposed on someone who buys a drink for someone else from a bartender or server at a commercial establishment, only if the host had possession and control of the alcohol. The simple question being, “who had the authority to deny further service of alcohol when intoxication became apparent?”
If you are involved in an accident with a Massachusetts drunk driver or if you have been injured by the actions of an intoxicated patron you may have a cause of action against, not only the driver, but potentially the person or establishment that served him or her as well.
If you were injured by a person who was over served, why should Altman and Altman, LLP., handle your case?
At Altman & Altman, LLP, our experienced Massachusetts social host liability attorneys are prepared to protect your rights. Our MA Injury attorneys have decades of experience at representing individuals injured by accidents caused by a patron who was over served. Whether it is a car accident, fall down accident, or any accident that manifested itself from an individual who was over served. Our experienced Boston attorneys have access to the finest experts in the state and are ready to begin representing you and your interests immediately. In addition, with our history of success we have vast experience in negotiating with insurance companies, making sure that any recovery covers medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, future medical bills and future economic damages.
We understand that an accident can greatly affect your life and that of your family. Our Boston social host liability attorneys have the tools and experience to help you put your life back together. Our Boston injury attorneys are sensitive to your needs but we are ready to aggressively advocate for your rights. In addition to having a strong record of results, we pride ourselves on being easily accessible to clients. Our phones are answered around the clock, and all emails get immediate responses.
If you or a loved one has been injured by someone who became intoxicated at a private party or commercial establishment, or is the subject of a social host liability lawsuit, contact a Boston injury attorney at Altman & Altman, LLP., for a free confidential consultation.
To schedule your free consultation with an experienced Boston, Massachusetts social host liability attorney at Altman & Altman LLP, call 617.492.3000 or 800.481.6199 or contact us online.