Everyone loves to entertain at home. But did you know that you are taking a risk by serving alcohol to your friends? A majority of states have adopted some form of “social host” law that holds homeowners liable for an alcohol-related incident. While a host’s homeowners insurance policy will usually cover damages in such an incident, there are exceptions to the rule. A Lufkin injury lawyer can explain the ins-and-outs of social host liability in Texas.
When is a Social Host Liable in Texas?
If you, as a property owner, serve alcohol to minors or allow minors to consume alcohol on your property, you could be liable under Texas law. You could also be liable for resulting damages if you supply car keys to an intoxicated adult at your home.
Passed in 2005, the Texas social host law made headlines last year when the parents of a daughter killed as a passenger in a drunken driving accident sued, not the driver, but the homeowners where her and other teens had consumed alcohol earlier in the evening. Her parents alleged that the homeowners knowingly allowed minors to drink alcohol on their property. The teens purchased the alcohol at a convenience store.
The plaintiffs claimed the homeowners were well aware that the teens were drinking in their backyard. The statute’s intent is to go after parents who serve alcohol to minors or turn a blind eye when minors are drinking alcohol in their home. Knowledge of minor consumption is crucial.
While the same level of host responsibility does not apply to adult guests, you would be liable if you supplied car keys to an intoxicated adult who ultimately injured someone in a car accident. As mentioned above, your homeowner’s policy may cover you up to a certain amount, but consult a Lufkin injury attorney to be sure.
If you decide to host a party in your home, there are some simple precautions to take:
- Recommend in advance that your guests use a designated driver to drive them home
- As a host, limit your drinking so you can judge your guests’ sobriety
- Serve food with the alcohol and make non-alcoholic beverages available
- Remove the alcohol before the party ends and switch to coffee and soda
- Call a cab for anyone who appears to be intoxicated
Most people are unaware of the social host law in Texas. Contact a Lufkin injury attorney for more information.