If you drink alcohol and then drive yourself home after a holiday party, you are putting yourself at a very high risk of a fatal accident. Thanksgiving weekend in 2021 was the deadliest in seven years, with 15 crashes on Louisiana’s highways resulting in 20 deaths. Louisiana State Police cited intoxicated driving as a reason for these fatal crashes.
In many states, social hosts can be responsible if they supply alcohol to guests who then go on to cause accidents. While Louisiana does not generally hold social hosts liable, there are a few exceptions.
Louisiana law states social hosts aren’t accountable if a person sustains injuries in a drunk driving accident caused by someone the host supplied alcohol. Party hosts also can’t be held liable for property damage in any resulting crashes caused by people leaving their party. Instead, the drunk driver’s auto insurance company must cover the victims’ injuries and other damages.
The statute does provide a few exceptions for when social hosts are liable for someone else’s drunkenness, however:
- The Social Host Knowingly Served Alcohol to Someone Underage
Louisiana’s laws only protect social hosts serving people of lawful drinking age. When teenagers are served alcohol and go on to cause crashes, hosts can potentially then be held partially liable.
- The Social Host Forced the Driver into Intoxication
This may include slipping drugs into a guest’s beverage or pressuring them into drinking more alcohol than usual before they leave the event.
- The Social Host Misrepresented an Alcoholic Beverage as Non-Alcoholic
If a social host claims their beverages are non-alcoholic to a driver when they are not, they can be liable for the driver’s drunkenness and any resulting crash.
As a social host, you aren’t liable for guests if they drive drunk after your holiday party in Louisiana. However, you can ensure everyone has a good time and still provide options for guests to stay sober enough to go home safely.
Making responsible decisions for your party as a social host can prevent drunk driving accidents and fatalities during the holiday season.
- Don’t Pressure Anyone to Drink
You should never force people to participate in drinking, especially if they don’t drink alcohol. For those who do drink alcohol, encourage drinking only in moderation. You should also offer your guests alcohol-free entertainment, such as party games or a holiday-themed movie, to take the pressure off drinking.
When minors are present at a party, ensure there are adults to supervise and prevent them from alcohol consumption.
- Offer Various Non-Alcoholic Beverages and Serve Food
During your party, make sure there are non-alcoholic drink options, such as soft drinks, ginger beer, or holiday-themed mocktails, for designated drivers and sober guests. Serve hearty foods containing plenty of protein and starch to slow down the rate of intoxication and absorb alcohol.
- Provide Transportation Options
Ensure your guests have plenty of notice before your party to plan their travel, such as having a designated driver like a friend to drive them back home. If a drunk guest insists on going home after driving themselves, take their keys and have a cab or Uber pick them up or let them stay in a guest bedroom.
Staying sober at a holiday party helps ensure everyone can arrive home safely, both you and other people on the road. If a social host overserves alcohol at a party, their actions can lead to a guest causing a drunk driving accident, leading to significant damages and personal injury.
You or a loved one can explore your legal options after an accident with a New Orleans drunk driving injury lawyer at Dudley DeBosier. Our attorneys have years of experience working with car accident victims, including those injured by intoxicated drivers.
Schedule a free consultation with us to discuss your case and find out how we can help you.
This content has been reviewed by Chad Lederman, Director of Legal Operations at our New Orleans office.
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