Driving while under the influence of alcohol is highly dangerous and can cause a serious or fatal traffic accident. If you’re injured in a wreck caused by a drunk driver, you can file a personal injury claim against them. Additionally, if someone served the drunk driver alcohol while they were already intoxicated, you can file a claim against the establishment that served them. This is known as dram shop liability, and in Indiana, private party hosts are liable for drunk driving accidents through dram shop liability.
In this blog, we discuss everything you need to know about Indiana’s social host liability, avoiding dram shop liability, and proving that a social host is liable for your injuries.
What Is Dram Shop Liability?
A dram shop is an establishment that serves alcohol, such as a club, bar, or restaurant. If a business serves alcohol to someone who is already intoxicated, the owners can be held liable if the intoxicated individual causes an injury.
For example, if a bar serves alcohol to a drunk patron and the intoxicated person hits a pedestrian with their car, the pedestrian could file a claim against both the drunk driver and the bar that served them alcohol.
In Indiana, the two main situations in which dram shop liability applies are establishment liability, such as a tavern, convenience store, or restaurant, and social host liability, such as a company or house party.
Indiana Social Host Liability
A private host can be held financially responsible for serving alcohol to someone who then causes property damage or personal injuries. For example, if a host serves their intoxicated guest alcohol and they then wreck into another driver, the victim can file a claim against the party host for property damage and injuries if they sustained any.
In order to hold someone accountable under dram shop liability, the host who serves the alcohol needs to be aware that the person is either underaged, meaning under 21, or is already intoxicated.
Even if the intoxicated or underaged individual serves themselves, the host can still be responsible. If a guest is drunk, it’s the host’s responsibility to keep them from driving.
How to Avoid Being Liable for a Drunk Driving Accident
If you plan on throwing social events or having guests come over this summer, you need to take the necessary steps to be a responsible host. To avoid being held financially responsible for a drunk driving accident, take the following precautions:
- Don’t serve alcohol to someone who is already intoxicated
- If you have a teenager throwing a party, make sure that no one drinks
- Limit the number of alcoholic beverages guests can consume
- Serve foods that are high in protein or starches, which slow down the rate of intoxication
- Provide non-alcoholic beverages
- Allow intoxicated guests to stay overnight
- Find an alternative method of transportation for intoxicated guests, such as an Uber or carpool
- Hire a bartender for your event who can cut-off guests
Proving that a Private Party Host Is At Fault for a Personal Injury
If you suffered from an accident caused by a drunk driver, you may be able to hold the person who served them responsible, but you need to be able to prove that the social host is liable. In order to establish liability, you need to provide evidence that the defendant — or person you’re filing against — served the alcohol knowing that the recipient was already drunk. You also need to provide evidence that the drunk driver caused the accident because they were driving while impaired.
For example, if you’re injured in a wreck with a drunk driver, that doesn’t automatically mean the intoxicated person was at fault. Their inebriated state needs to have caused the accident. If they ran a red light or drifted into your lane because of their impaired motor functions, their drinking likely caused the accident. You could file a claim against the drunk driver and the host that served them alcohol.
What Damages Can I Seek From a Liable Social Host?
When filing claims against a drunk driver and a liable social host, you may be able to obtain compensation for property damage, medical bills, lost wages, loss of future earnings, pain and suffering, and more.
Injuries caused by drunk drivers can be incredibly expensive, and they may permanently impair you physically, mentally, or emotionally. You shouldn’t have to pay for your expensive medical bills. And if you face temporary or permanent disabilities, you may have a challenging time earning a livable wage. You need to file claims against the drunk driver and the person or business that served them alcohol.
Contact an Indiana Dram Shop Liability Attorney
Proving that a social host is liable for your property damage and injuries can be challenging. To increase the likelihood of settling or winning your case, you need experienced dram shop liability lawyers at your side.
For seasoned legal support in Indiana, contact Poynter & Bucheri Accident Recovery Attorneys at Law. We’ll work to prove your case, and our attorneys will make sure you receive as much compensation as possible for your property damage and personal injuries. Call us today at 1-800-265-9881, or click here for a free case review.