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Liquor and Social Host Liability

Massachusetts Liquor Liability Attorneys

People engaged in the sale of alcohol assume legal obligations to do so responsibly. This responsibility applies to those who sell alcohol, serve alcohol and allow others to consume alcohol. The negligent sale of liquor, service of liquor and negligent allowance of minors to drink liquor creates an unnecessary danger to the community. If the negligent sale, service or allowance of others to consume liquor causes injury or death, the injured person can hold the negligent party responsible for causing such harm to them by way of a civil lawsuit. Typical liquor liability claims in Massachusetts include:

  • Sale of liquor to minors
  • A business (“dram shop”) such as a bar, restaurant, tavern, pub, sporting or concert venue over serving a customer
  • The “social host” of a party allowing minors to consume liquor on their property
If I Have Been Injured by a Drunk Driver or Intoxicated Person, Who is Responsible for my Injuries?

If you have been injured by a drunk driver or intoxicated person who has been negligently sold or served liquor, you have legal rights to pursue compensation from both the drunk driver/intoxicated person and the business, or “dram shop”, that negligently sold or served the liquor. A “dram shop” is any business that sells or serves alcohol.

When is The Service of Alcohol Considered Negligence?

Massachusetts law prohibits the sale or service of alcohol to intoxicated persons. This law extends to employees of businesses, which means that the business faces liability if there bartenders, servers or wait staff provide alcohol to intoxicated patrons who then injure or kill someone else. Owners of businesses that sell or provide alcohol to customers have a responsibility to train their employees to:

  • detect the signs of intoxication
  • take proper steps to remove intoxicated people from their establishments before they can cause harm to others
  • observe unruly patrons who may start a physical altercation
  • remove those who are displaying signs that they may start a physical altercation.
When Does a Social Host Face Liability in Massachusetts?

Social hosts also have a responsibility to prevent underage people from consuming alcohol. If you have a party, you may not provide or allow underage guests to consume alcohol. If a social host provides or allows a person under the age of 21 to consume alcohol, the social host may face criminal charges. If the underage intoxicated person causes an injury or death to another person, the social host may be sued in a civil lawsuit by the injured person or the family of the deceased seeking monetary compensation for their loss.

Do Massachusetts’ Businesses That Sell Alcohol Carry Liability Insurance?

In 2010, the Massachusetts legislature amended their liquor liability laws to require those businesses who sell liquor to carry at least $500,000.00 in liability insurance coverage. As of August 26, 2010, any person seeking a renewal or filing an initial application for a liquor license must provide proof of this required liability insurance in order to obtain a license.

Experienced Massachusetts Liquor Liability and Social Host Liability Attorneys

The attorneys at Carney Law Firm are experienced at handling these often difficult liquor liability cases. Recently, Attorney Brendan Carney obtained a favorable settlement on behalf of a young female student who suffered a traumatic brain injury due to the negligent service of alcohol. This substantial settlement was achieved after our firm performed a thorough investigation into the merits of the claim, which included obtaining witness statements, obtaining evidence of other prior similar conduct by the defendants and retaining several expert witnesses.

Contact us today for a free legal consultation at 1-800-640-2667 or complete our online contact form. Your call will be returned promptly by one of our attorneys. We will schedule a free consultation as soon as possible and begin investigating your claim to determine your legal rights to compensation.

Client Reviews
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Brendan, I cannot adequately communicate how meaningful your role has been in this life-altering experience. I can say "Thank You!". I do it from the bottom of my heart, but I thought I would attempt to show you just a snippet of the impact you have had on m life, and, i can imagine, on the lives of others like me. Blessings! Kristy
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Brendan was very understanding and supportive emotionally as well as being knowledgeable and experienced legally. He worked with us to achieve the best possible outcome in a very difficult situation, and we would highly recommend him. Sam
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Brendan was great in my case. He was very professional and made sure I fully understood every step that was happening in my case. Every thing I signed he made sure I understood all the fine print and he explained it very well.He negotiated way more then what I thought I was going to receive. Brendan always stayed in constant contact with me and was very easy to get a hold of for any and every question I had about the process. Very thankful to have worked with him. Greg
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"… I wanted to express my thanks and gratitude to you. You always said it was your job but it seems to me it is your calling. Anyone with enough hard work can be a lawyer or a nurse but not all can express empathy, compassion and infinite patience to guide others through a confusing and difficult journey …" Anonymus