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Can social hosts be held liable for drunk driving crash?

Last week's post on this blog discussed business's liability if a patron was consuming alcohol at their establishment and then went on to cause an accident that resulted in someone's injuries or death. Ohio's "dram shop" laws, as they are called, allow victims to hold these establishments liable if certain conditions are met. But what about accidents that take place after the drunk driver was drinking at someone's house?

According to Ohio's laws, if an Ohio host serves alcohol to an adult who then goes on to cause an accident that causes injuries or death, the host will not be held liable. However, if the guest is underage, then the host can be liable for providing them with alcohol at their social event. In Ohio, as in the rest of the country, the legal age for drinking is 21-years-old.

Accordingly, if a host provides alcohol to an underage person and that person goes on to injure or cause someone's death in a drunk driving accident, that host can be held responsible in certain instances. In order to demonstrate liability, it must be shown that the host knew that the guest was a minor and was consuming alcohol or that there was a possibility that an underage guest will consume alcohol.

When someone loses a loved one in a drunk driving accident, the last thing they may be thinking about are the legalities of the process of holding the drunk driver accountable. They may not even be aware that it is possible to hold the host of the social event liable as well. An experienced attorney can help families pursue justice and compensation for the ordeal they have been through.

Source:, "Underage drinking and social host liability in Ohio," accessed Nov. 10, 2016

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