What are the Dram Laws in Alabama – Are You Responsible for Minors Drinking at Your Home?

When you decide to have kids, you end up being one of two kinds of parents. Some parents are strict and never let their kids have parties. They set strict curfews and track their teenagers when they leave the house. While the neighbor kids may not think you’re the cool parent, you’ll probably never have to worry about getting sued for letting kids drink at your house and then end up in a car accident.

The other sort of parent is quite different. They say they’d rather let their kids drink at home so they can keep an eye on them. They let their teenagers invite their friends over for parties on the weekends. They don’t realize that, by doing this, they could be opening themselves up to all sorts of legal liability.

In Alabama, if you host a party and people get intoxicated, you may be responsible if they hurt a third party. For example, if you serve your teenage son’s friends alcohol and they get into an accident, the victims can sue you for damages. Keep in mind, however, that you aren’t automatically liable. In order to be liable under Alabama Code Section 6-5-71, you have to serve alcohol to someone contrary to the provisions of the law.

A group of people toasting, with beer glasses.

What Does it Mean to Serve Alcohol Contrary to the Provisions of the Law?

In order to be held liable under Alabama Code Section 6-5-71, the plaintiff will need to show that the defendant served alcohol to someone contrary to the provisions of the law. So, if a bar sells alcohol after a certain time of night, they can be liable. The same is true if they serve someone who is already intoxicated. If that person leaves and gets into a drunk driving accident, the victim can sue the bar owner.

The same thing applies to people who have parties at their homes. It is against the law for anyone to purchase or supply alcohol to someone under the age of 21. If you have a party at your home and someone gets drunk and gets behind the wheel, you can be held liable. For example, if your son’s friends drink at your house and then leave, they could get into a car accident. The victim can file suit against you. Since it’s against the law to serve alcohol to a minor, you have served alcohol contrary to the provisions of the law.

What if the Minor Wasn’t Intoxicated When They Left Your House?

A lot of people may ask this question. If the teenager isn’t drunk when they leave your house, why should you be held liable? The thing is, it is against the law for anyone to serve alcohol to a minor. Even if you only give them one beer, you can still be found at fault. If the plaintiff can prove that the alcohol played any role in the accident, you can be sued for damages. These damages will include the following:

  • Medical Bills
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Permanent Disability
  • Property Damage
  • Lost wages and future lost income

More than likely, if you own your home, the lawsuit will be filed against your insurance company. If you rent, they can technically sue your landlord. More than likely, you’ll be personally named in the suit. If you have any assets, the plaintiff can go after them to cover their expenses. 

How Does Someone Defend a Dram Shop Lawsuit?

If someone is sued under the dram shop laws in Alabama, there are a few defenses they can raise. Obviously, if someone never served the defendant alcohol, they shouldn’t be held liable. The same is true if they didn’t serve someone alcohol contrary to the provisions of the law. For example, if someone was at the bar, was not intoxicated, and was sold alcohol in the normal course of business, the bar owner won’t be held liable. Or, if you have a party where alcohol is not served, and a teen drinks alcohol after they leave your house, you should not be held accountable. 

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer in Birmingham, Alabama

If you’re hurt at the hands of someone who is intoxicated, you need to call an experienced personal injury lawyer in Birmingham. Depending on the situation, you may have a claim for damages against the person who served them the alcohol. Contact us and talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer right away. They’ll review your case and let you know what it may be worth. They can let you know if you even have a case, to begin with. Schedule your initial consultation. It’s absolutely free and you won’t pay a dime until you settle your case.

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