When a person hosts a party, they expect to have a good time. However, when they knowingly serve alcohol to a minor, the night can take a dark turn. A social host can be legally responsible when they serve alcohol to a minor. Our personal injury attorney team explains Pennsylvania’s social host laws.
What Are Pennsylvania’s social host laws?
Pennsylvania’s social host laws hold a person legally responsible when they knowingly serve alcohol to someone under 21 years of age. Social host laws cover people who allow parties with alcohol. They are not the same as the laws that apply to commercial establishments with a license to service alcohol. When a person hosts and knowingly provides alcohol for a minor to consume, the person may be liable for the damage that results.
Are Pennsylvania social host laws criminal or civil?
Pennsylvania social host laws are both criminal and civil. A person who serves alcohol to a minor may be charged with a crime. The penalties may include having a charge on your criminal record forever. Jail time is a possibility. If harm occurs to a victim, jail time may be especially likely. The offender may also owe restitution to a victim.
In addition to criminal in nature, Pennsylvania social host laws are civil laws, too. A person who gets hurt because someone serves alcohol to a minor may hold the server financially responsible for the harm that occurs. The victim may work with a personal injury law firm in order to pursue a personal injury claim for financial compensation.
What do Pennsylvania social host laws mean?
Pennsylvania social host laws hold people accountable when they knowingly serve alcohol to minors. For example, if a person provides alcohol to a minor, the minor might drink and drive. If they cause an accident, it can be the person who provides the alcohol who is financially liable for the harm that results. Another example might be serving alcohol to a minor before an altercation happens between the minor and another person. Even an accidental jostling that results in a slip and fall accident may be legal grounds for liability for the person who provides the alcohol.
In Pennsylvania, the laws don’t require the minor to be visibly intoxicated. It’s the act of providing the alcohol that is problematic. The victim has the task of proving that the actions of the defendant result in the harm to the victim. Like any other personal injury claim, the victim must prove their damages and all of the elements of the case. They may work with the personal injury attorney of their choosing.
Personal injury attorney for Pennsylvania social host laws
If you’re the victim of underage drinking, the person who supplies alcohol may be legally liable. A personal injury law firm can work with you to assert your legal rights and claim the compensation that you deserve. They can help you determine what your claim is worth and what party to name in the case. Deadlines apply, so don’t wait to begin.