North Carolina Social Host Law
Determining Who Is Liable for a Drunk Driving Accident
If you are injured in a
drunk driving accident in North Carolina, your case against the alleged drunk driver may be easy
to prove—but that doesn’t mean a damage award will be easy
to collect. The cost of
serious, permanent, disabling injuries may easily reach seven figures, far exceeding a driver’s insurance
limits and personal assets. Even an injury that requires a routine hospital
stay and a short period of convalescence while you’re out of work
may place you in serious debt.
If the drunk driver only carries the minimum level of insurance, that policy
won’t cover all your losses. The outlook is even worse if, like
many repeat offenders, the drunk driver had a suspended license and no
insurance at all. Fortunately, liability for your accident may not be
limited to the drunk driver who hit you. At Lanier Law Group, we’re
prepared to go after all possible responsible parties, including social
hosts who may be liable for serving alcohol.
Read on to learn more about social host law or
contact us now for a free, confidential consultation: (855) 757-4204.
Understanding North Carolina’s Social Host Liability Law
A series of court decisions in North Carolina have created a common law
duty for social hosts to act with care when serving alcohol to guests,
regardless of the guest’s age.
Under these decisions a host may be liable for any foreseeable accident
an intoxicated guest causes if these conditions existed:
- The host served or provided the alcohol
- The host knew or should have known the person being served was intoxicated
- The host knew the person would be driving after being served alcohol
For example, if the driver who caused your accident went to a party at
Mary’s house, and Mary served alcohol, noticed that her guest was
getting a bit tipsy due to him lurching as he walked or slurring his speech,
and she knew that he’d be driving home, Mary would have a duty to
cut him off. However, if Mary continued to serve her drunken guest, she
may be liable for any accident due to his impairment.
Proving Liability in Social Host Law Cases
Social host liability may be difficult to prove because so much of it depends
on what the host observed and knew or should have known. The court applies
a reasonable-person standard in such cases, asking whether a reasonable
host would have noticed that the guest was intoxicated. The timeline for
the evening also comes into play, because if the guest left the party
and consumed alcohol elsewhere before the accident, it would be difficult—if
not impossible—to prove the host was at fault.
Given the complexity of cases involving social host liability, you need
experienced and determined legal representation. When you hire a heavyweight
like Lanier Law Group, you get a team of aggressive advocates who pursue
every opportunity to maximize your recovery.
Contact Us Today for a Free Consultation
Lanier Law Group has been fighting for injured North Carolinians since
1997. To learn how our experienced North Carolina social host liability
lawyers may be able to pursue compensation in your drunk driving injury
case, schedule a free consultation with us today.
Call us at (855) 757-4204 or
contact us online.