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Social Host Liability in New Jersey

The Legal Responsibility of a Private Party Host in New Jersey

Social Host Liability in New JerseySummer’s just around the corner—chances are you’ll be invited to a pool party or barbeque where beer, wine, or liquor will be available. Some social hosts pay close attention to how much alcohol their guests consume, but many do not. What happens if one of the revelers imbibes too much, gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, and causes an accident? What liability does the party host have to those who are hurt?

New Jersey’s dram shop law makes a bar or restaurant potentially liable for injuries caused by a patron who is served too much alcohol. In addition, New Jersey has a law that addresses the legal responsibility of private party hosts. This particular type of liability is known as “social host liability.”

Under the New Jersey social host liability statute, a party host who provides (or allows the consumption of) alcohol to or by an intoxicated guest may be liable for injuries or losses suffered by a third party in an accident subsequently caused by that guest. The alcohol consumed need not actually come from the party host—it could be beverages brought by other guests, including the person who caused the accident. The stature requires all of the following to impose liability:

  • That the guest who caused the accident was “visibly intoxicated” in the presence of the party host;
  • That the beverages were provided or allowed “under circumstances manifesting reckless disregard of the consequences;”
  • That allowing the consumption of alcohol created an “unreasonable risk” of injury to person or property; and
  • That the injury was incurred in an accident cause by the intoxicated person.

Contact a Proven Personal Injury Accident Lawyer

For a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call us at 973-993-8787. We have office locations in Morristown and Newton but will visit you in your home or the hospital, if necessary.

We handle all social host liability claims on a contingency basis. You won’t incur any attorney fees unless we get compensation for your injuries.

Prior results are no guarantee of a specific outcome in your case. Your results may vary based on your particular facts and circumstances.