Super Bowl 50 will be held this February, marking a half century of this monumental American tradition. Throughout the United States, Super Bowl parties will be held in bars, on college campuses, at various public facilities, and in private homes. Hosting a Super Bowl party can bring a unique type of satisfaction: seeing one’s friends and family gather in your home, enjoying the game as well as quality time together. But alongside this satisfaction comes the responsibility to ensure that all guests’ needs are met. This includes ensuring guests’ safety at the party and on the road afterward by monitoring guests’ alcohol consumption and plans for getting home safely after the game.
If you are planning a Super Bowl party this year, there are a few key terms that you need to understand. These terms include social host liability and dram shop liability, both of which speak to the responsibility that a party providing alcohol to others has for its guests’ sobriety levels. When an individual drives drunk, he or she puts him- or herself and others at risk of being injured or killed in a car accident. Do your part to prevent accidents and injuries by not allowing guests who have had too much to drink to drive away from your party.
The term “social host liability” refers to the liability that a party host who provides alcohol to others in a social setting has for any damages caused by those others’ actions as a result of the alcohol consumption. Similarly, the term “dram shop liability” refers to the liability that a bar may have if a bartender continues serving drinks to an obviously intoxicated patron who then causes a car accident and injures others.
In Kentucky, there is no statewide law that makes party hosts liable for damages suffered because a party guest became intoxicated and then caused a car accident. A number of Kentucky communities have adopted laws that hold adults responsible for underage drinking that occurs in their home or on their property. These are known as social host ordinances, as described by a sheet provided by the Kentucky Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities.
Kentucky law generally takes the position that an intoxicated person is primarily responsible for injuries he or she causes. Under most circumstances, a bar or establishment that serves alcohol cannot be held liable under a dram shop claim for damages caused by an intoxicated patron to a third party. There is one exception. If a reasonable individual, when presented with the same circumstances faced by the bar when serving the patron, could determine that the patron was already intoxicated when being served, the establishment may be held liable for a third party’s damages caused by the drunk driver. This is because bars and restaurants have the responsibility to “cut off,” or stop serving, intoxicated guests.
As the Super Bowl host, it is in your best interest to remain sober at your party. This is because you might need to coordinate a taxi ride home for a guest or be able to take a stand to prevent a drunk guest from driving home. You might even consider acting as a designated driver for guests who live nearby.
Do not make intoxication and the use of designated drivers a taboo topic. Speak openly about how you plan to prevent drunk driving after your party and encourage your guests to make good choices.
As the party host, you have a considerable amount of control over how drunk your guests become and how they get home safely after the party. The most important precaution you can take to protect your guests from injuries and DUI arrests is making your own pre-game plan for handling drinking at your party. Consider these options:
Know your crowd and your available resources to take the right precautions for your Super Bowl party. Choosing not to serve any alcohol at your party might work with some groups, but may make you unpopular with some. You might have a large home with plenty of space for overnight guests, but if you live in a smaller house or an apartment, you might not be able to have intoxicated guests stay overnight.
Car accidents can happen even after the most responsible party planning. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by another driver, you should consider seeking compensation for the damages caused by the accident through a personal injury claim. Our team of Kentucky personal injury attorneys at Becker Law Office can help you file and pursue your claim to seek the money you deserve. Contact us today.