If I Throw a Party Am I Responsible for the Actions of My Guests?

Everyone likes to have a good time–especially during the holidays. Whether a party is centred around a holiday or a gathering of friends, alcohol is commonly involved. If you are hosting a party with alcohol, you are likely concerned with ensuring your guests have a good time. However, if you do not take measures to ensure they get home safely, could you face civil liability if they are involved in a car crash?

A lawsuit against the host of a party is rare. However, each year, claims are filed against bars and individuals alike. If you were involved in an accident with an intoxicated driver and believe a social host was partially responsible, discuss your case with us as soon as possible. With a thorough understanding of this type of liability, you can move forward with an injury claim.

Understanding social host liability

When the courts consider a social host liability case, they treat it like any other negligence claim. Negligence requires not only a careless or reckless act but also a duty to another person. If you do not owe another person a duty, you cannot be held accountable for anything that happens to them with a negligence claim.

When British Columbia courts have considered these cases in the past, the existence of a duty has been the sticking point. After carefully considering the facts of a social host case, the Supreme Court of Canada determined that simply throwing a party that includes alcohol is not enough to create a duty of care with a person– later injured in a third-party accident. However, the court did hold open the possibility of other conduct that was so egregious that it could create a duty.

Is getting home safely a defence?

If a social host owes a duty to their guests to ensure they do not leave in an intoxicated state, when does that duty end? At least one defendant in a liability case argued that they were not responsible for an accident because the drunk driver returned home before leaving again– immediately before the crash. The host’s lawyer argued that by returning home, their duty was extinguished. However, the courts disagreed. They held that a drunken crash hours after an intoxicated person left was still covered under the social host liability doctrine.

Contact Preszler Injury Lawyers

If you find yourself involved in a car accident with a drunken driver, you could have a viable legal claim for your damages. In addition to bringing a civil action against the intoxicated driver, there could be other parties that also share in the responsibility.

If the driver who struck you was allowed to leave a social gathering while intoxicated, you might have a claim under the commercial host liability theory. While these cases are often challenging to prove, a successful lawsuit could provide the compensation you need to cover your medical bills or lost wages.

For assistance with pursuing a lawsuit or filing an ICBC claim after a collision with a drunken driver, schedule a free consultation with a car accident lawyer from our firm right away.

Scroll to Top