The holiday season is one of good times, fellowship and cheer—in short, gatherings and parties. People get together to enjoy good food, good friends and drink, and unfortunately, sometimes they drink a little too much.

We’ve all heard about the dangers of drinking and driving, but what many people don’t realize is that if one of your guests gets into a drunk driving accident, you might be held responsible. Learn why hosts need to watch how much their guests have to drink, when to cut someone off, and when you might need to hire a car accident lawyer.

Social Host Liability

Social host liability is the legal concept that the host of a gathering can be held liable for accidents and injuries caused by their intoxicated guests. This means that if you serve someone alcohol and they drive drunk, cause an accident and hurt someone, you might be held responsible for their actions. This is similar to the dram shop laws that allow bars to be sued for accidents caused by drunk drivers who purchased the alcohol in their establishments.

Social Host Laws and Liability

These laws apply to anyone who is the primary resident of a location where people were served alcohol or those who were serving alcohol at these locations. This means homeowners, renters, or anyone who serves alcohol (a party bartender, for example) at these locations can potentially be held liable.

Anyone who is injured as a result of alcohol being served at this residence can technically file suit, but just like with dram laws, there are two forms of suit: first and third person suits. First person suits are more difficult to pursue.

First vs. Third Person Suits

In a first person suit, you are the one who gets drunk, and are injured as a result of being drunk. While these are allowable in Illinois, they can be very difficult to pursue unless the person doing the drinking is a minor, in which case serving them alcohol in the first place was illegal. For adults, however, you are generally considered responsible for your own actions, which can make it hard to collect first-person damages.

Third-person suits, on the other hand, occur when the party who has been drinking harms someone else. In this case, both they and the location where they got the alcohol can be held liable. These are the more common kind of cases, and it hinges on the idea that serving them alcohol after they were already drunk was reckless and/or malicious.

Calling a Car Accident Lawyer

If you are injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries to cover medical expenses, lost wages, lost companionship and a range of other damages. Collecting on these expenses, however, requires the services of an experienced Illinois car accident lawyer. A lawyer knows how to protect your rights, gather the right evidence, and hold the responsible parties accountable. If you live in Illinois and have been hurt in such a way, Disparti Law Group can help. Give us a call today; we’re happy to review your case for free.