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Liability issues for social hosts

Although Georgia does not have social host liability laws, the concept may make sense as one considers what happens after an individual leaves an event at which alcohol has been furnished. It might seem reasonable to expect an adult to regulate their own intake of intoxicating substances. If an accident occurs while an individual is under the influence, they typically face legal and financial consequences for damages that they have caused. However, social host liability laws ascribe some of the responsibility to a host who has continued to provide an intoxicated individual with alcohol or drugs in spite of that party already being too impaired to drive safely.

Social host liability laws exist in 27 states, but in nine of these states, the laws are only applicable to situations in which minors have been furnished with intoxicating substances. In states with these types of laws, hosts can be held responsible for preventable accidents based on the fact that they irresponsibly enabled the dangerous behavior. In some cases, hosts are deemed responsible if a guest can be considered visibly impaired. This includes settings in which alcohol or other substances are available via self-service.

Activities that occur on a property can lead to unanticipated injuries or damages based on issues such as bad weather, deterioration of materials, or the condition of food and beverages served. An individual who is injured because of a property issue might be covered by the property owner's insurance. However, inadequate insurance coverage could leave people in an adverse financial situation related to their injuries.

In seeking compensation through legal avenues, an injured plaintiff might need to provide documentation of the property's shortcomings as well as of the extent of injuries suffered. Additionally, the level of negligence could affect the outcome of a case. If a dangerous situation was known and ignored in advance of such an incident, for example, there could be greater liability than in a situation involving a previously unknown issue.

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