Who Is Liable?
A person can get hurt for a variety of reasons. It can be the person's own fault, a freak accident that was no one's fault, or it can be another person's fault. When your injuries are the fault of another person, it's possible to recover damages for your injuries. In some cases it's easy to figure out who's to blame. Other times, it's not so easy because the injuries were a result of a more complicated sequence of events. For such cases, the legal system has developed a system of standards and tests to help courts and lawyers determine who should pay in a personal injury case.
The obligation to pay for injuries is known as "liability." One person or multiple people can be found liable depending on the case. When there are multiple parties found to be liable, each party's degree of liability can be different. FindLaw's "Who Is Liable?" section provides information about how liability works and how courts determine which party must pay for which injuries.
There are times when property owners can be held liable for injuries that occur on their property. The legal theory for this type of liability is known as premises liability. The types of incidents that can result in a premises liability claim can range from a slip and fall at a store to an injury at a zoo. Private homeowners can also be held liable for injuries in some circumstances. Liability will depend on the laws and procedures in each state, but generally there are different rules when it comes to injuries sustained by social guests versus injuries sustained by business guests. An example of a business guest is a shopper at a grocery store.
Liability of Social Hosts
Many states have enacted laws that hold a party host who provides alcohol to minors liable for alcohol-related injuries that result. The party host can be held liable not only for injuries to the minor, but also for any injuries or death caused by the intoxicated minor. Some states have social host liability laws that extend to adults who are encouraged or allowed to drink too much, and end up injuring themselves or someone else. In order for a host to be found liable, most states require a showing that the host knew that the guest was drunk and should not have been served more alcohol.
Social host liability laws are usually targeted toward reducing alcohol related death and injuries by minors. These laws impose a duty of care to adults in charge during a party to not serve or even make alcohol available to minors. However, as previously mentioned, some states have laws that extend social host liability to guests who are of legal drinking age as well. This is especially the case in the context of drunk driving.
Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or someone close to you has been injured and you believe someone else is liable for your injuries, you might want to consult with an attorney to discuss your legal options. It's in your best interest to contact an attorney soon after your injury to avoid missing the deadline to file your case.
Click on any of the links below to learn more about laws and legal issues related to liability.
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