When an alcohol-related accident happens, several states across the country allow an injured person to seek monetary damages from the person who cause the accident but also the business that provided the alcohol. These laws are referred to as “dram shop” laws. Historically, alcohol vendors used to be called dram shops because the unit of measure used to sell the alcohol was a “dram.”
Dram Shop and Social Host Liability
Nevada is one of the few states in the nation that does not impose dram shop liability unless the person who was intoxicated was a minor at the time of the accident.
Of note, Nevada’s dram shop law also extends to social hosts. In other words, Nevada’s dram shop statute allows a person injured in an alcohol-related accident to seek monetary damages for harm suffered against a social host who provides alcohol to a minor, or a social host who allows a minor to consume alcohol on his or her property. Because there are several different places where a guest may drink without a social host or bar employee having actual knowledge of how much alcohol was consumed by the guest, Nevada legislators did not find a reasonable basis for making third parties liable for the actions of their guests.
Under Nevada’s dram shop law, however, a person injured in an alcohol-related accident cannot seek damages against the social host if the intoxicated person who caused the injuries was over the age of 21. This exception is not common in the rest of the country. If a minor consumes alcohol at a business or residence, the social host may be held liable for any damage resulting from the alcohol consumption.
Damages and Statutes of Limitations
A social host liability claim is a civil case. In other words, liability is determined simply in terms of monetary compensation (and not jail time, as it would be in a criminal case). The most common types of monetary damages sought in a Nevada social host liability case includes medical expenses, loss of wages, property damage, value of lost housework and child care the injured party would have provided, as well as pain and suffering.
Nevada law allows an injured person to seek punitive damages beyond compensatory damages. Punitive damages are awarded by a court to punish defendants of wrongdoing in particularly bad cases and also send a message that reckless, grossly negligent, or intentionally harmful behavior will not be tolerated under the law.
Like other civil lawsuits, Nevada law mandates that a social host liability claim be filed within the time limits set by the statute of limitations. Generally, these claims must be filed within two years of the date of injury.
Nevada Legal Help
If you have been hurt in Nevada in an alcohol-related accident in a residence or business, or know someone who has, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Parry & Pfau. Do not try to resolve this on your own. Click here today to schedule an initial, no-cost consultation.
(image courtesy of David Straight)