When a loved one is injured or killed by the careless acts of a drunk driver, the impact is nothing short of devastating. Because of the destruction and life-changing impact something like this has on a family, Massachusetts offers some avenues of justice either through the civil or criminal courts. Many people assume that only the drunk driver can be held accountable, but this is not necessarily the case. In fact, any person that serves alcohol can be subject to being held responsible for the aftermath. If you have found yourself in a case that may involve this particular area of law, you should reach out to a Massachusetts attorney who can help you through the process.
What Does the Law Say?
The Massachusetts Social Host Law (Liability) describes the level of accountability that a social host has in particular situations. If a person offers alcohol to a guest at his or her home or other property, he or she is potentially taking on the responsibility for that person’s actions once they leave the property. Basically, if you serve alcohol on your property it is your duty to determine whether or not a person is capable of driving without injuring another person. This broadens the scope of accountability and allows the law to seek justice from additional avenues other than only the drunk driver.
What Constitutes as a Social Host?
In terms of this law, a person becomes a social host by meeting the following qualifications:
- You offer someone an alcoholic beverage without pay (basically, you are offering the drink as a gesture and are not a bar or restaurant).
- You are providing or are aware of a person being provided alcohol on your property
How is Property Defined?
Under this law, property is defined in the following manner:
- A personal home or dwelling
- A premise that you have control over
Many people assume that this law only includes a residence. However, a number of properties can be included such as a vacation property, a boat house, or even an office.
Play it Smart
It is important that whether you are a social host or if you are attending a gathering, you should always be prepared. Know your limits. If you are offering alcohol, be aware of who is of age and who is not. Remember to keep a close eye on the behaviors of others and do not allow anybody to drive away from your property if they are obviously drunk. If you are attending a gathering, know how you are going leave and remember that drinking and driving are never a good combination.
Contact an Attorney
If you or someone you know has been involved in a drunk driving case that may fall under the Massachusetts Social Host Law, reach out to an experienced injury attorney who can help you. Massachusetts Attorney Peter Ventura is a knowledgeable and experienced in injury and wrongful death cases. Reach out to him today at 508-755-7535 for a timely review of your case.
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