It’s party season, and whether you are planning a holiday party, a New Year’s celebration or game day bash, you need to understand how New York social host liability laws might apply.
If you are hosting a party where alcohol is served on property that you control, then you are considered a “social host.” This term does not include vendors who sell alcohol at restaurants, bars or other venues.
Social host laws define whether social hosts are responsible, or liable, for damages caused by guests to whom they have served alcoholic beverages, and most states have some version of this law. The goal of these laws is to discourage underage drinking at those gatherings where adults knowingly let minors drink alcohol.
Age Matters in New York Social Host Laws
New York social host laws specify that, if a social host provides alcohol legally to an adult at least age 21 and that person becomes intoxicated and causes injury to another person as a result of that intoxication, the social host cannot be held liable.
But if the person being provided with alcohol is a minor under age 21, it’s a very different situation. If a social host provides alcohol to a minor at a property that they control and the social host, upon learning of the consumption of alcohol by the minor, fails to take reasonable corrective action, he or she can be charged and penalized under the social host laws.
New York’s social host law goes one step further in circumstances where alcohol is provided to a minor. If that minor then injures someone else as a result of that intoxication – for example, in a vehicle accident – the injured person may bring a claim against the person who provided the alcohol. The social host may be found liable if he or she knowingly caused intoxication by unlawfully providing alcoholic drinks to someone they knew, or had reason to believe, was under age 21.
Don’t Take a Chance – Be Cautious When Serving Alcohol
· Don’t serve alcohol in any form to individuals under age 21.
· Watch guests for any signs of intoxication, including drowsiness, slurred speech, excessive arguing or staggering.
· Collect car keys when your guests arrive and don’t let anyone who appears intoxicated drive home. Be ready with alternate transportation such as taxis or rideshare services.
· Be prepared to offer overnight accommodations.
· Offer tempting non-alcoholic drinks for your younger guests. Punch, lemonade, flavored teas and sparkling water are good choices.
Let Us Know If You Have Been Injured in a Vehicle Accident
If you or a family member has been harmed by a car accident, truck accident, construction accident, slip and fall or any other type of personal injury, please contact StolzenbergCortelli, LLC Attorneys at Law immediately. Please call us for a free consultation. Attorneys Howard Stolzenberg and Terrence James Cortelli, personal injury attorneys in White Plains, Nyack and New York City, will fight to secure justice for you and your family. You can reach us at 800-494-0889 or contact us via the website.