Teen Drinking and Your Liability
Despite the overwhelming research documenting the health and behavioral consequences of underage drinking, some parents believe that allowing minors to drink under their supervision may lead to more responsible drinking in their adult years. Other parents believe that allowing minors to drink in the home is a better alternative to drinking outside the home.
Regardless of your parental approach to your teen children and drinking, when teens drink at home, you may be exposed to substantial civil liability. Even if it occurred while you were away or without your consent.1
Social Host Laws
At least 43 states have laws that make social hosts civilly liable for injuries or damages caused by underage drinkers, and many states have criminal penalties for adults who host or permit parties with underage drinking in the their homes or in premises under their control.2
State laws vary, so the precise circumstances under which you may be held liable will depend upon the state in which you live.
The liability to which you may be subject may include medical bills, property damage, and pain and suffering.
The most effective way to avoid this risk is not to allow any alcohol at teen parties that may be hosted in your home. Since you may be liable for teen drinking in your home even when it occurs without your consent (e.g., while you’re on a well-deserved weekend getaway), make sure you have adequate personal liability coverage.
1. The information in this material is not intended as legal advice. Please consult a legal professional for specific information regarding your individual situation.
2. III.org, April 8, 2021