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Underage Drinking Accident Attorneys

If you've been injured by a drunk driver, you likely have a personal injury case against both the driver and the individual or establishment which served him or her. In Massachusetts, there are separate causes of action against the party responsible for serving the drunk driver to the point of intoxication: "dram shop" and "social host" theories of liability.

It makes sense that we would hold the serving party responsible to some some degree. It is well established that the party who drank to the point of intoxication would be liable for damage, injury, or death that person causes while intoxicated. Clearly, a negligent driver is responsible for their damage, injury, or death they cause when sober. Accordingly, it stands to reason that those who cause themselves to become intoxicated before getting behind the wheel also have liability.

The party providing the alcohol has a separate responsibility which we hold accountable in drunk driving cases.

For establishments which sell alcohol, such as a restaurant, bar, or liquor store, our law is clear that service to an intoxicated person is prohibited. It's well accepted that alcohol generally diminishes an individual's good judgment. It would inequitable to rest the responsibility to cease the consumption of alcohol solely on party who is drinking. If that where the case, liquor dispensing establishments could continue to serve an intoxicated party without any risk of liability. As a society, we assign to the establishment the duty to stop service if the customer is intoxicated and we hold the establishment liable if they fail to meet that duty. This is, in essence, the theory behind "dram shop" liability. Restaurants and bars are required to carry liability insurance to cover this risk in Massachusetts, so in the event you have been injured by a drunk driver, this issue should be addressed. There are also procedural requirements with short time frames which must be complied with, so the issue should be assessed quickly.

The second type of liability assessed to servers of alcohol is called "social host" liability. This liability is applicable when individuals are served alcohol and then injure or kill someone else as a result. The typical scenario is under-aged teens drinking at the home of one of the teen's parents. One of those teens drinks alcohol and then injures or kills another individual in a drunk driving accident. Liability associated with the injuries or death of another individual applies to the children's parents. You should be clear that this is a very broad law. As a parent of a teen involved in under-aged drinking, you may be liable even when it's not your house or if it is your house and you are unaware there is under-aged drinking occurring there. And, it doesn't have to be a house at all for liability to attach. It could be a hotel room or other location at which your child is drinking. Aside from the criminal liability which would attach to your child and potentially to you, tremendous liability can arise from these claims beyond what your homeowners insurance may cover.

If you've been in an accident involving a drunk driver or under-aged individual under the influence of alcohol, call our office and speak with an attorney who has successfully handled dram shop and social host cases. Damages in drunk driving accidents tend to exceed the limits of most auto insurance policies and so it becomes critical to properly assert dram shop and social host liability arguments to obtain a recovery that will adequately redress your injuries. Call our office today at (866) 995-6663 to speak with an experienced Massachusetts drunk driving accident attorney about your case.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

Phone: (866) 995-6663
Address: 15 Court Square, Suite 800, Boston, MA 02108