Hosting a party is not always about having a great time with your friends.
As we have said in the previous part of the series, we are now at a season of partying. With Thanksgiving, Halloween, and the Christmas season coming we are expecting a lot of people to invite us to their homes and have a drink or two. This is also the first Christmas after the pandemic that people are starting to be more confident of going out and enjoying the company of others. With that, you must always follow the requirements to protect you and your guests from any problems in the future.
You may be looking forward to hosting a social event and here at Haque Legal, we want to make sure that you know what you are doing at the time of the social event to protect you and your loved ones.
With that, this second part of the article series will talk about some of the things that you need to know about the Michigan Social Host Liability law and how you can protect yourself from liability against any kind of problem.
How does a lawyer prosecute a social host liability claim?
A lawyer who will prosecute you for social host liability is required to prove four elements of the claim. The following are the elements that one must consider:
That the person has suffered an injury
It is an element that the person has suffered an injury. Without any injury sustained by any party, there will not be a claim, to begin with.
In the first part of this article series, we have discussed the liabilities of the social host. We have discussed that the act of serving or selling liquor or any alcoholic beverage to a minor is already considered a misdemeanor. The social host liability under the dram shop law in Michigan is entirely a new charge against the host.
Hence, in the misdemeanor, there is no need for a person to have an injury but for the civil claim of a social host liability claim to get proven the person must suffer an injury. This is the first element.
That the person suffered an injury and the injury is caused by a minor
In the alcohol-related incident, the controlling element is that the person or a person has suffered an injury and the second element is that the injury is caused by the minor. Here the accident that caused the injury must be caused by the minor or the person below 21 years of age who is intoxicated.
This often happens in situations where the person below the age of 21 got drunk at your party and you allowed them to drive, causing an auto accident in Michigan. Here the proximate cause of the accident may be the drinking of the minor but the proximate cause, according to the law, would be the fact that you served the minor liquor or you allowed him to be intoxicated.
That the host knowingly sold or served alcoholic beverage to the minor OR that the host failed to conduct a diligent inquiry as to whether the person was a minor
It happens that you may conduct a party and have a party with your friends and your family and another person is invited by your friend or your family. We all want to believe that the more guests we have the more successful the party will be until the police come knocking at your door or someone starts to serve you someone’s address to the court in a social host liability claim.
In this element, there are two controlling acts that the social host made not do or may fail to do. The first one is that when the host knowingly sells or serves alcoholic beverages to a minor, then it is clear that the liability of the host already exists. The second one is when the host fails to inquire about the age of the minor, it is also considered as an element of the liability.
That the fact of intoxication of the minor is the direct and substantial cause of the auto accident in Michigan or the injury of another person
As discussed in the second element, in a situation where the person below the age of 21 got drunk at your party and you allowed them to drive, causing a car accident in Soutfield or anywhere else in Michigan, you become liable under the social host liability.
Again, the proximate cause of the accident here may be the drinking of the minor but the proximate cause, according to the law, would be the fact that you served the minor liquor or you allowed him to be intoxicated.
How do I prevent liability?
There are different ways that you can prevent being liable to the social host liability team even though an injury occurred or that any of the elements are present and it is in the third element.
The third element of a social host liability claim is the fact that the host knowingly sold or served alcoholic beverages to the minor OR that the host failed to conduct a diligent inquiry as to whether the person was a minor. This is where your defenses could begin.
Keep in mind that a conscientious host or a horse who does everything that they can to make sure that the event is safe for everyone can also protect themselves from liability later on.
The following are some of the things that you can do:
- Inquire as to the age of your guests;
- Make sure that you ask the bartender to keep an eye on the guests who are already intoxicated;
- Make sure that you assign someone who can keep an eye out for the teenagers; and
- Designate a sober driver to bring home the minors or any persons under 21 so that you can make sure that they get home safe.
The next part of the series will discuss the steps written above to protect you from social host liability claims.
Contact Your Lawyer Today
If you have a problem relating to dram shop liability in Michigan that you need assistance with, you should contact us today. A lawyer can help you get started with your defense. A lawyer at Haque Legal will see to it that your needs are met from beginning to the end of the proceedings. You are always in good hands with one of our Southfield criminal defense attorneys and what it has to offer.
The article that you have read is based on general applications of the law. It is not legal advice and it is not to be construed as any legal consultation with the firm. No client-attorney relationship is created when you read the articles we have provided.
Let us help you out.
If you are having trouble with parties relating to dram shop liability, call us immediately. If you have any problem with the law or are seeking justice and truth, our numbers are standing by to take your call.