Host liability is a legal term for the legal responsibility of a person or business that makes alcohol available to a guest.
It is estimated that 1 out of every 10 drivers on the road after 10 pm are intoxicated, and that 30 to 35 percent of all traffic deaths in British Columbia are related to drug or alcohol impairment. In the average year, 3000 accidents in British Columbia involve alcohol, and each year, dozens of British Columbians are killed as a result of impaired driving. Those who choose to drive impaired are often held responsible for the consequences of their impaired driving; however those who make alcohol available to impaired drivers will, in certain instances, also be held responsible for the consequences of impaired driving.
Generally, courts have required commercial hosts, and employers who host employees, to take more proactive steps to protect their guests and the general public than private individuals who host guests at a residence. Nevertheless, both commercial and social hosts may have a duty to supervise their guests. Hosts may be required to take proactive steps to prevent injury caused by an intoxicated guest who chooses to drink and drive. In some cases, hosts will be expected to take steps to prevent their guests from driving. For example, a host may be expected to arrange rides home for their intoxicated guests.
Where a host fails to take proactive steps to prevent injury caused by an intoxicated guest or customer, the host may be legally responsible to compensate the guest or customer and any other accident victims.
If you were an over-served guest or customer that was injured after leaving a party, get together or a drinking establishment, you may have a claim against the host who made the alcohol available to you. Similarly, if you were injured by the actions of a departing intoxicated guest or customer, you too may have a claim against the host who made the alcohol available to that guest or customer.
Often a host will have insurance that covers for injuries caused by or to intoxicated guests or customers. Our lawyers are experienced in dealing with insurers and have handled numerous personal injury and wrongful death claims. If you have an issue relating to host liability, please contact us for a free consultation.