Hosting a Holiday Party in GA? Social Host Liability


It’s the time of year when people are celebrating with friends and family members, and often eating and drinking the night away. Whether you are hosting a family gathering for Father’s Day, a 4th of July bash, or an employee holiday party there are some laws you need to know to keep everyone safe from harm and yourself safe from legal action.

Social Host Liability Laws in Atlanta GA

They are known as Dram Shop and Social Host Liability Laws, and they hold people responsible for serving alcohol to already intoxicated guests or patrons. If a guest leaves your house intoxicated, gets behind the wheel of a car, and causes a horrific accident—you could be held accountable.

About the law: Georgia Personal Injury Lawyers

Under Georgia statutes, the host of a party could be held responsible for an accident if he or she supplies alcoholic beverages to someone who is either under the age of 21 or noticeably intoxicated, knowing that the person will soon be driving a vehicle.

This means, as a host, it’s your responsibility to take care of the people at your party and monitor their drinking. Though it may not be fun, it’s necessary to prevent a serious drunk driving accident and to avoid a potential lawsuit after the fact.

Though Dram Shop Laws have most often been applied to bars and restaurants that continue to serve patrons long after they should have been cut off, they can also apply to people hosting get-togethers, for example for holidays, the Super Bowl, or a simple dinner with friends. Georgia’s Dram Shop Act refers to the liability of “a person” so it can be applied to a party host as well as a bar or restaurant.

These laws are designed to protect the public and to increase the responsibility of everyone involved in a night of drinking.

Precautions to take as a party host: GA Injury Lawyers

If you are planning a party, waiting until the last minute to decide how your intoxicated friends will get home is a recipe for disaster. Along with determining who will cater the food and what you’ll be wearing, having a plan for those guests who have had too much to drink should be part of the preparations.

Fortunately, there are several businesses that operate solely to get intoxicated revelers home safely. You could call a cab and have your friends come back for their cars the next day, or you could contact any one of several designated driver services in the Atlanta Metro Area. Some of those include:

These services often have the option to take your guests home in their own vehicles, saving them the extra trip in the morning.

Your Georgia Party: Tips to Avoid Injury

But before your guests get too intoxicated to drive, there are several things you can do to keep the party under control:

  • Offer plenty of food for people to munch on. While how much this hinders the effects of alcohol is questionable, at the very least, the food will slow their drinking down.
  • Offer non-alcoholic drinks. Keep bottled water cold and set out for people to take as needed. Also offer other juices and mixed non-alcoholic drinks.

Prevent Drinking and Driving in Georgia

As guests arrive, or even beforehand, let them know that no one will be driving home drunk. If you make this clear in advance, you can avoid a confrontation when it’s time for them to go home. Consider collecting keys as they enter the door and only handing them back when they are ready to leave and not intoxicated.

While there is nothing that some drunks love more than to tell you how capable they are of driving, they aren’t in a position to make that decision. You, as the host, are protecting yourself, your guests, and everyone else on the road when you step in and keep them from driving.

Contact Millar and Mixon After a GA Car Accident

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