Party Host Liability for Injuries Caused By Drunk Drivers

Charleston, SC Car, Truck and Motorcycle Accident AttorneyPosted by the Charleston SC Car Accident Lawyers at Anderson & Schuster, Attorneys at Law, LLC.  Our Charleston injury lawyers help people that have been injured by the acts or omissions of others.  If you or a loved one has suffered an unnecessary injury in Charleston, North Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, Summerville, Goose Creek, or anywhere else across the South Carolina lowcountry, contact our office and let us get to work for you.

The return of college football in South Carolina for many means the return of tailgating and game viewing parties.  At many of these tailgates or viewing parties there will undoubtedly be alcohol served.  At this time of year it is not uncommon for someone to ask us, "If I have a party at my house and I serve alcohol to my guests, would I be liable if my guest got behind the wheel of a car and caused an accident?"  The answer to this question, like many legal questions is, "it depends."

What this question refers to is South Carolina's stance on social host liability.  In South Carolina, there is currently no liability for an adult social host that serves alcohol to another adult guest (over 21 years of age), if that guest were to get behind the wheel and cause an accident.  The key word in the last sentence was "adult."  A social host can, however, be liable for injuries to a minor guest (under 21 years of age) or other third parties if the social host intentionally serves a minor guest or allows the minor guest to be served.  This is merely for social hosts and does not cover bars or restaurants that over serve their patrons and then allow them to get behind the wheel.  The laws that apply to a bar or restaurant are called Dram Shop Laws and will be discussed in a later post.  We obviously recommend that a host of a party refrain from serving alcohol to anyone under the age of 21, and if anyone becomes intoxicated at a party or gathering, we hope the person is discouraged from driving for their safety and the safety of others.  

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) there were 335 deaths last year related to accidents with a driver having a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher.  This number only takes into account the number of alcohol related deaths and does not mention the number of people who were seriously injured in car wrecks in South Carolina last year resulting from an alcohol related auto accident.  Please remember that if you or anyone you know has been injured in a car, boat or any other type of accident that involves alcohol, our attorneys are willing to help.

Source: Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) South Carolina Statistics

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