If a Guest Drives Home Drunk... Who's Responsible?
Someone comes to your home to enjoy a meal and some good friendship. You share a few drinks. That person leaves gets behind the wheel of the car and causes damage to another person’s property as a result of the alcohol. Intoxication like this can be deadly. In some cases, you, as the person providing those drinks, may be at some level responsible for the losses. Here is what residents of Springfield, Holyoke, and the surrounding areas need to know before you hold your next party with alcohol. Take a closer look.
Know Your State Laws
Whether you can be liable for the actions of another person in a situation like this depends on the state you live in.
If you throw a party and someone becomes intoxicated, whether or not you hold any responsibility in their actions falls under the state’s laws based on at-fault negligence. This works in the same way that a bar may have some liability if a patron drinks too much. If they let that individual drink too much and then that individual gets behind the wheel or a car, it is very likely the bar itself could have some responsibility in the losses. The same might apply in a personal home.
Not all states do this. In some states, the intoxicated individual is solely responsible for his or her actions. In other states, your negligence only applies if the individual’s intoxication is very much evident and you continue to provide alcohol to them or you allow them to leave. This often involves and investigation.
What Happens If This Occurs?
If this type of situation occurs where a person is in an accident related to their intoxication, you could be liable for the losses.
Your home insurance may offer some protection to cover these losses. It would fall under your home insurance’s liability coverage. In this situation, the person suffering damage would file a claim under your policy. He or she would have to prove that you were negligent, however. That likely means showing you knew the risks were present and did not act to prevent the outcome that occurred.
If you are hosting a party of any type, it is important to monitor how much a person drinks. Intoxication can be life-threatening to that individual and anyone he or she shares the road with on the way home. You do not want to be responsible for the losses. However, your home insurance policy may offer some help if you are responsible.