Have you been injured in an accident as a result of a drunk driver being served too much alcohol at a work event or at a friend’s home? Or have you been injured as a result of consuming too much alcohol at an employer event or a friend’s home? If so, contact Horowitz Injury Law, a team with 35 years of experience acting in social host liability cases, as you may be eligible to receive compensation for sustained injuries.
A social host is someone who is not selling or supplying alcohol for profit and is serving alcohol or allowing the service/consumption of alcohol on premises over which he or she has control over; this would typically include a private residence or a party hosted by an employer, where the alcohol is supplied.
The law provides that hosting a party at which alcohol is served does not, without more, establish the degree of proximity required to give rise to a duty of care and liability on the social hosts to third-party highway users. Generally, an adult party at a private residence, where guests consume their own alcohol (bring your own bottle), would not give rise to liability on the social host; this would be the case where the social host was not aware of their guest’s alcohol consumption. However, a social host who continues to serve alcohol to a visibly inebriated person, knowing that he or she will be driving home, exposes the social host to potential liability. The court has reasoned that in those circumstances, the social host may become implicated in the creation or enhancement of a risk, which is sufficient to give rise to a duty of care to third-party users of the road. While social hosts would not normally be held to the same high standard of commercial hosts, social hosts who provide alcohol, should still take reasonable precautions to prevent intoxicated guests from driving home. While social host liability law in Canada is still developing, future cases will be decided on their facts on a case-by-case basis.
A social host could also be liable for alcohol-related injuries sustained by persons on their property pursuant to the Occupiers Liability Act; generally, there is duty on an occupier to ensure that people who enter onto their property are reasonably safe. The duty of care under the Act applies whether the danger is caused by a condition of the premises or by an activity carried out on the premises; supplying alcohol would be such an activity.
The liability of an employer who hosts a party for their employees, or a business that hosts a party for existing or prospective clients, may also give rise to liability in certain circumstances. While the employer or business would not be a typical social host or commercial host, it is possible that in certain circumstances, the host would owe a greater duty to take reasonable precautions to prevent their guests from driving home inebriated; this could involve taking affirmative action in arranging transportation and having some method to avoid serving alcohol to intoxicated guests.
If you or a loved one has sustained injuries as a result of a social host’s failure to meet a reasonable standard of care by permitting a guest to drive home from a residence or an event while inebriated—call Horowitz Injury Law today for a free consultation at 416-925-4100. We specialize in these types of cases and are available to speak with you at no charge to assess whether or not your claim may have merit.