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social host liability

In many states a social host—including the guest’s employer—who does not charge an adult guest—18 years or older in some states and 21 years or older in other states—for alcoholic drinks and who does not serve the beverages under the authority of a license or permit—is not liable for the guest’s actions or injuries to himself or others.

But in most states an adult social host is liable for personal injuries and property damage caused by a minor to whom the social host provides or furnishes alcoholic beverages—especially if the social host knew or should have known the minor would drive a motor vehicle under the influence or if the minor was obviously intoxicated when the social host provided or furnished alcoholic beverages.

Laws regarding social host liability vary from state to state and are usually located in a state’s statutes.

In Texas, social host liability is governed by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code. Under Texas law, a social host who provides alcohol to a minor (someone under the age of 21) can be held liable for damages caused by the intoxication of that minor. This is particularly the case if the social host knowingly served alcohol to the minor or allowed the minor to be served on their premises. However, Texas does not generally impose liability on social hosts for the actions of their adult guests (those 21 years of age or older) who become intoxicated. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code specifically outlines the circumstances under which a social host can be held responsible for the actions of an intoxicated minor, emphasizing the importance of not serving alcohol to individuals under the legal drinking age.

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