The short answer is yes Connecticut has social Host Liability. In December of 2012 the new law was approved. This law requires that any person that knows of a minor possessing alcohol do what they can (in a reasonable effort) to stop the illegal action. If you know that a minor is possessing alcohol and you do nothing this law extends the liability for failure to halt possession. The act increases the penalty for a violation to a class A misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum one year imprisonment or up to a $2000 fine. The text of the law can be found at:
This law makes property owners responsible for any underage drinking on their property. If a child causes injury to self or others you may even face criminal charges. While your intentions may be good allowing youth to “drink at home,” as a social host you could face a variety of charges.
“According to a national CDC survey, most high school students (about 7 out of 10) don’t drink. Unfortunately, that is not the case in Connecticut. The statewide statistics show that 50% of Connecticut teens have tried alcohol and that number is higher in southwestern Connecticut.” Source
When an intoxicated person injures someone else in Connecticut, can a third party be liable for providing the alcohol?
the person who caused the injuries was visibly or perceivably intoxicated when he or she purchased the alcohol, and
the person’s intoxication was a cause of the injuries.
Connecticut’s dram shop law applies to anyone who provided alcohol to an intoxicated person
Connecticut’s criminal laws make it a misdemeanor for social hosts to “knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence” provide alcohol to anyone who’s under the age of 21 or to fail to make reasonable efforts to prevent minors from gaining access to alcohol. And, Connecticut courts have held that a social host can be liable for civil damages if the host provides alcohol to a minor and the minor then injures him or herself or someone else as a result of the intoxication.
Connecticut allows injured parties to seek personal injury damages for a number of losses. Damages in the cases of injury caused by minors commonly awarded can include:
medical, hospital, and rehabilitation bills
lost wages and benefits
the value of lost or damaged property
the value of household services the injured person cannot perform due to injury, and
damages for pain and suffering.
Note: Connecticut “caps,” or limits, the total amount of damages available in a dram shop case to $250,000 per accident, whether one person or multiple people were injured. There is no cap if the at fault party is sued for recklessness rather than mere negligence in providing alcohol to another. Injured parties can also seek damages from the person who caused their injury, and those direct-liability cases are not affected by the $250,000 dram shop cap. Social Host (Property Owners) allowing teens to drink in your home or on your property can result in a $2,000 fine, court ordered evaluations, jail time, probation, or even criminal charges. It also exposes that social host to civil liability to those harmed by the drunk teen.
Since legal and procedural issues can commonly get pretty complex, if you’re thinking about filing this kind of case, it would be wise to speak to an attorney as soon as possible after your injury. If a minor was involved there could be multiple parties held responsible from the person or business that provided the alcohol, to the social host and or the parents or guardians.
At Tindall Law Firm, LLC, we help injury victims and their families recover damages for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. We aggressively pursue the compensation you need to heal and move forward. While favorable settlements are often possible, if going to trial is in your best interests, we will battle the insurance company until we get results. We have 25 years of success in many types of personal injury cases and worker’s comp matters, and have much experience handling liability cases involving drunk drivers or drunk parties in general.
For a free consultation with a Waterbury personal injury attorney, please call 203.755.0018 or contact us online. All cases are taken on a contingency fee basis. If we accept your case, you pay no fee unless we recover damages for you.