During the holiday season, bars and private homes are going to be packed with merrymakers. Unfortunately, some of those revelers are going to drive while intoxicated and injure themselves or someone else.

The New York dram shop laws impose liability on bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and other public locations that serve liquor to a minor or someone who is already visibly intoxicated. If you are injured after one of their customers drives under the influence, then you have a cause of action for bringing a lawsuit against the establishment. In addition to actual damages, such as lost income, medical bills, and pain and suffering, the law allows you to recover punitive damages, which serve to punish the business and deter others from being equally negligent.

However, this accountability is strictly limited to commercial transactions. What if a private party host dispenses liquor on an indiscriminate and negligent basis and you are injured by one of their guests?

Unlike some states, New York has no liability statutes in place for social hosts whose legal-age guests get drunk at their event and later injure a third party. They may, however, be held responsible if the person they served (and who subsequently injured you) was under the age of 21. This could include parents who let their children throw holiday parties in their home or hosts who do not take active steps to prevent minors from consuming alcohol on the premises.

If you or someone you love was injured in a drunk driving incident involving an intoxicated minor, then you may be able to seek compensation under the state’s social host rules. Should the party responsible for the accident be over 21, a homeowner can still be held accountable for general negligence. If they knowingly handed car keys to an intoxicated guest and encouraged them to drive, then you may launch a negligence claim even though the social host laws don’t assign liability in this instance.

If you have been injured by a holiday reveler who was drinking at either a commercial establishment or a private party, then it is important to speak with an experienced New York personal injury attorney immediately. After thoroughly investigating the events leading up to your accident, your attorney will review your options and help you build a case against the parties responsible for your injuries. You could be entitled to compensatory damages such as:

  • Present and ongoing medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Lost or diminished earning capacity
  • Past and future pain and suffering
  • Wrongful death

Your attorney will work to hold all responsible parties accountable for their respective roles in causing the accident and your injuries. That way you receive the award or settlement you need to sustain you and cover your expenses as you recover. Jayson Lutzky is a personal injury attorney and has helped his injured clients recover millions over the past 33 years. Call 718-514-6619 to set up an appointment; Mr. Lutzky offers free in-person consultations and can be reached at www.MyNewYorkCityLawyer.