Know the Law – Holiday parties and liability

Michigan imposes “social host liability” for alcohol served in a social settings 

  • Individuals who provide alcohol to minors or over-serve those of legal drinking age – applies to party at home or any event hosted in a rented property
  • Social host responsible for 1) guests of legal drinking age and 2) underage guests
  • May be held responsible for injuries to guest, as well as anyone injured as a result of that guest being over-served or served under-age
  • Be a responsible host: 1) use designated drivers; 2) do not let over-served guests leave w/keys in hand; 3) hire bartender who can monitor/recognize when someone has had too much and can keep those under 21 from sneaking drinks

Michigan imposes “dram shop liability” on establishments that negligently serve a person who is visibly intoxicated

  • Visible intoxication = it’s apparent to a reasonable person the individual has had too much to drink
  • If alcohol sold to person under 21, it’s unnecessary to prove the person was intoxicated – the mere selling of the alcohol is enough to establish liability
  • Victim of a drunk driver can bring a claim against bar, restaurant, retail shop or individual that negligently served alcohol – for the claim to be successful, victim must show negligent service/sale of alcohol directly contributed to injuries
  • Person who files dram shop claim must himself/herself be innocent

No-fault will generally cover injuries sustained in an auto accident involving alcohol

  • No-fault benefits are not based on fault – this means both a drunk driver and the innocent party are entitled to benefits,
  • Fatal accidents: may file claim for no-fault survivor’s loss benefits
  • Victim may sue drunk driver who causes a crash:

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