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Indiana’s Social Host Law: Holding Negligent Party Hosts Liable

Indiana has a Dram Shop law that holds accountable any establishment or individual who furnishes alcohol to an intoxicated person and causes injury or death due to drunk driving. The law applies to bars, restaurants, and private citizens hosting parties. This is known as social host law when it is concerning private citizens hosting a party. Under Indiana’s social host laws, people who have parties or provide alcohol to people, even those of legal drinking age, can become liable for injuries, death, or damages that result from the actions of someone to whom they furnished alcohol or for accidents that occur on their property. 

If Someone Leaves Your House Drunk, Are You Liable?

If you as a host serve alcohol to someone who you know is intoxicated at the time and that that person might injure themselves or others due to that intoxication, you as the social host could be liable for the person’s injuries or death, or any injury or death they cause. The social host law is important in reducing the number of drunk driving accidents and of course, the victims of such accidents should bring charges against those responsible. But you don’t want to be on the receiving end of a lawsuit like this.

Social Host Law: Being a Responsible Host

There are ways you can ensure that you exercise host responsibility during parties to avoid potential legal liability. As the homeowner and host, it is your duty to keep guests safe from any possible hazards in your home, and if you are serving alcohol to your guests, you have to be especially careful.

Here are some things you can do to avoid potential liability: 

  • Do a basic inspection of your house to make sure there’s nothing dangerous that could cause anyone injury. If you have any obvious hazards, such as a loose railing or an icy walk, correct them, or be sure to warn your guests.
  • Plan for guests to stay overnight if they’re too intoxicated to drive home. You can also impose a drink limit or ensure that there are designated drivers at the event (or be one yourself) and make sure the DDs don’t drink. If you live in a city, you can easily call a cab or rideshare service for anyone who can’t drive home as well. 
  • Supervise any parties thrown by your teens to make sure there is no alcohol being served and that no one leaves your house inebriated. If you’re out of town and are worried they might host a party without your permission, have a neighbor keep an eye on things while you’re gone. 
  • Consider mixing and serving drinks yourself so you have control over the flow of alcohol and can keep tabs on how much everyone has had. 
  • Stop serving alcohol around 90 minutes before the party is over so that your guests have time to sober up.
  • Consider serving high-protein foods such as meats and cheeses, which stick to your stomach and absorb alcohol, slowing down intoxication. 
  • Don’t serve too many salty foods – salt makes people thirsty. 
  • Offer plenty of non-alcoholic beverages at your party. 
  • Have an area in your home where your guests can place their car keys – that way, if you have an intoxicated friend who insists on driving home, hide their keys and make alternate plans for them. 

Talk With One of Our Experienced Indianapolis Car Accident Lawyers 

Unfortunately, sometimes irresponsible people drive while intoxicated despite even the best efforts to prevent it. And when there are drunk drivers, or even just reckless drivers, on the road, accidents will happen. Were you the victim of a car accident? Filing injury claims for a car accident in Indianapolis can be daunting, especially if you are dealing with medical, financial, and emotional fallout at the same time. At Crossen Law Firm, we are ready to effectively negotiate with insurance companies to obtain maximum compensation for you. Contact us online today for your free consultation or give us a call at 317-827-7264 to talk with one of our expert Indianapolis car accident attorneys.