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Can an Adult Be Liable for Injuries After Serving Alcohol to a Minor?

 Posted on November 03, 2020 in Personal Injury

Grand Rapids personal injury attorney car accident

After a June car crash that took the life of an 18-year-old Grand Rapids, MI resident, questions regarding the legal consequences of serving alcohol to a minor have come to the forefront in the local community. In this case, the victim died in a single-car accident and was found to have a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level after drinking at a party at the home of one of his classmate’s parents. While charges in the case are still pending, it is important to understand what Michigan law says on this subject in case you or a loved one is involved in a similar drunk driving accident.

Social Host Liability in Michigan

Michigan law statutes are clear that a business, such as a bar, brewery, restaurant, or liquor store, that sells or serves alcohol to a minor or a visibly intoxicated person can be considered liable for injuries and other damages that person causes as a result of his or her intoxication. However, cases may become more complicated when the person who served or provided the alcohol was the host of a party in his or her own home, rather than the operator of a business.

There are no Michigan statutes that denote the liability of a social host for serving alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person, but there are laws that make providing alcohol to a minor a criminal offense, whether a person does so knowingly or without the due diligence to determine whether the recipient is a minor. This offense is considered at least a misdemeanor but can be considered a felony if the alcohol is found to have caused the minor’s death, including in the case of a car accident.

In the 1985 Michigan Supreme Court case Longstreth v. Gensel, the court cited the previously mentioned laws in its ruling that social hosts who provide alcohol to minors can also be held liable in civil cases. This means that someone who was injured by an intoxicated minor could file a lawsuit against a host who provided alcohol to the minor, and that the minor or his or her parents could have a case for compensation for the minor’s own injuries or death.

Contact aJ Kent County, MI Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an accident involving an intoxicated minor, your case could be complicated. You need an experienced Grand Rapids personal injury attorney who can help you investigate the circumstances of your crash and build a case for compensation based on evidence of another party’s negligence and past case precedent. Call John D. Tallman, Attorney at Law, today at 616-361-8850 to schedule a free consultation.






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