Can Nevada Hosts be Liable for Over-Serving Alcohol?
Drunk driving accidents are universally preventable tragedies, many of which rob innocent motorists, pedestrians, and passengers alike of their happiness and lives. According to the CDC, one person dies in an alcohol-related crash every 50 minutes in America. This rate only accelerates during nighttime, the most dangerous time to drive, due to the number of drunk drivers who get onto the road after bars close and parties end.
Most states have fairly simple liability laws regarding over-serving, which are known as “dram shop” laws—dram being a dated unit of measurement for liquids. For over 80% of America, when an individual is hurt by someone’s severe intoxication, they can sue both that intoxicated person and any establishment or host that over-served them (“over-serving” meaning that they sold them alcohol despite extreme, visible impairment), thus contributing to any damages. Nevada’s alcohol liability laws, on the other hand, are extremely lenient compared to most other states.
Nevada’s Social Host Liability
Nevada’s alcohol liability laws can be confusing to read, so instead, let’s look at Nevada Revised Statute 41.1305 in simplified language:
- A person who serves, sells, or otherwise provides an alcoholic beverage to an individual of 21 years of age or older is not liable for any damages caused by that individual as a result of their alcohol intake.
- Except as otherwise noted, a person who:
- Knowingly and directly provides an alcoholic beverage to an underage person; or
- Knowingly allows an underage person to drink alcohol on the premises they own or have control over,
is liable for any damages caused by the underage person as a result of the consumption of alcohol.
- Individuals and establishments that are licensed to serve, sell, or furnish alcoholic beverages, and who serve alcohol to minors, are exempt from the liability created in section
- Knowingly serving an underage drinker as a licensed alcohol salesman does not establish “proximate cause” or negligence.
To put things simpler still, hosts in Nevada are only liable for the actions of minors they serve, and nobody else. Commercial establishments, their employees, and other licensed alcohol salesmen are exempt from this minor-related liability. In the event of a car accident in Nevada, this means that most people have no ability to sue anyone but the driver who hurt them directly.
Compensation in Nevada Drunk Driving Accidents
Although Nevada’s legislation is lacking when it comes to recovering damages from a host or alcohol-serving establishment, victims of drunk driving accidents and other alcohol-related crimes can still pursue compensation from the guilty party directly. Remember, if you were hurt in a drunk driving accident in Nevada by someone of over 21 years of age, you won’t be able to sue hosts or establishments that served them—however, if the drunk driver was a minor, and the one serving them was a host, not a licensed establishment, then you’re free to sue.
If you’ve been hurt in a Nevada drunk driving car accident yourself, you deserve compensation, but it can be difficult to know who can be held liable for what portion of your damages. Aaron Law Group’s Las Vegas accident attorneys can answer your questions and defend your case, securing you a comprehensive, reasonable settlement, so give us a call at (702) 550-1111 to schedule a free consultation today.