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Personal Injury, CA Party Hosts Liable if Cover Charge Collected

With Spring Break right around the corner, San Diego residents can anticipate underage drinking that always accompanies the warmer seasons. It is no mystery that the combination of minors and alcohol is disastrous. This combination can lead to senseless personal injury and death. Typically minors choose to drink at huge parties thrown at someone's house when their parents are out of town. As guests enter the party, the hosts ask for money or collect a cover charge to help offset the cost of alcohol. During or after the party, the underage drinkers stumble out of the house and make regrettable decisions that cause harm to others.

Prior to a California Supreme Court decision handed down in February of this year, the victims of these underage drunk drivers were limited in the sources of legal relief they could seek. Before the ruling, pursuant to various laws, social hosts of the drinking party were not liable for the damages that resulted from the actions of their intoxicated guests. Only people who "sold" alcohol to obviously intoxicated individuals could be liable.

The California Supreme Court recently ruled that selling alcohol includes party hosts and planners that collect money, including, for example, a cover charge to offset the cost of alcohol. Thus, if the drunken party guest leaves the party and is involved in an accident, the injured victims can sue and recover from not only the drunk but also the individual who supplied the alcohol and the host of the party.

In the case of underage hosts, this includes the host's parents, whether the parents knew about the party or not. While the 1983 movie "Risky Business" starring Tom Cruise involved such a party, the term Risky Business has now taken on a much deeper and significant meaning.

If you or a family member has been injured by an intoxicated individual whom you believe has been at a drinking party, immediately seek the services of an experienced attorney. By selecting an experienced personal injury attorney, all avenues of legal recovery will be obtained.

At the Law Offices of David P. Beeson, we have been helping people who have been injured and killed by the wrongful acts of others for more than 35 years. We can help. Visit our website at or call us at 619-233-6078.

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