Liquor and Social Host Liability
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 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.
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, Rezendes & Crowley, LLC 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 (617) 426-9797 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.