When a bar, tavern or restaurant serves alcohol to a patron and that patron subsequently causes injury or property damage because of impaired driving, the concept of dram shop liability can be used to hold the server and establishment responsible for any injuries sustained. As a general rule, a commercial establishment or employee will be responsible if the person causing injury was either visibly impaired when served, or was served enough alcohol to reasonably cause impairment. That concept can also apply to private individuals who serve beer, wine and liquor, under what is commonly referred to as social host liability.
Pennsylvania’s Restricted Social Host Liability Laws
In most states, a social host can be responsible for the subsequent acts of any person who was served while visibly intoxicated or who was served a quantity of alcohol that would reasonably be considered to produce intoxication. That is not the law in Pennsylvania. To the contrary, Pennsylvania only finds a social host liable if the person served was a minor. Legal adults are responsible for monitoring their own level of intoxication.
Delaware’s Social Host Liability Laws
Under Delaware law, a social host has no liability for injuries caused by anyone who has been served by the social host, whether the intoxicated party was an adult or a minor. Accordingly, an injured person may only seek compensation from the person who actually caused the injury.
At Barnard, Mezzanotte, Pinnie & Seelaus, we offer experienced and knowledgeable legal counsel to individuals in Pennsylvania. To set up an appointment for a free initial consultation, call us at 610-565-4055 or contact us online.