When someone you love faces catastrophic injuries or death from a drunk driver, you may be looking for those accountable. While the driver may be the one behind the wheel, the person who served him or her alcohol could also face legal responsibility under social host liability or dram laws.
In Alabama, dram laws allow you to file a lawsuit against the person who served alcohol to a drunk driver if he or she acted negligently.
Who do dram laws apply to?
Dram laws apply to any person who serves alcohol. It can refer to a bartender at a professional establishment or the host of a party. The host could be someone who had an event with 10s of 100s of people or someone who asked a few friends over. Likewise, anyone serving minors alcohol may face criminal penalties and litigation.
What makes a host negligent?
Serving alcohol does not automatically make someone liable for the intoxicated person’s actions after the event. However, hosts should take care to limit the amount of alcohol he or she serves the guests and also the amount of alcohol he or she consumes. The host should be able to reasonably decipher if someone drank too much.
No host should coerce guests into drinking or rush to help them become more intoxicated. If a person already looks intoxicated, he or she should instead drink non-alcoholic drinks. At the end of the night, the host should call for a rideshare, or cab or offer the intoxicated person a place to sleep to prevent him or her from getting behind the wheel.
When a host encourages heavy drinking and allows someone to drive intoxicated from the party, he or she may have legal liability.