Social Host Liability

There are a number of laws within Pennsylvania’s codes that dictate how situations involving alcohol sales and consumption must be handled. Like many states, social host laws are among these rules. Quite similar to dram shop laws, social host laws typically place responsibility for damages upon the shoulders of the party that provided alcohol to the person at fault. But, as with numerous other laws, Pennsylvania’s social host rules have unique features and contingencies.

Social Host Rules For Serving Adults

Let’s begin by discussing what constitutes a social host. Essentially, a social host is anyone responsible for serving alcohol at a private party that’s not acting as part of an establishment licensed to sell alcohol.

In many states, dram shop-like laws dictate that social hosts can be found responsible for damages caused by any visibly intoxicated people to whom they’ve served alcohol. Pennsylvania, on the other hand, does not abide by this. The state’s current legislation protects social hosts from being held responsible for damages inflicted by an intoxicated person, so long as the person who caused the damage is over the age of 21.

This is distinctly different from PA’s dram shop rules. These laws state that if the person who caused damages was visibly intoxicated when served, the serving party can be held responsible for said damages. But unlike social host laws, Pennsylvania dram shop laws only cover establishments that are licensed to sell alcohol.

Social Host Rules For Serving Minors

Serving alcohol to minors is a completely different situation. If you knowingly and willingly furnish alcohol to someone under the age of 21, you’re immediately under threat of significant charges and potential jail time if caught. Furthermore, if the minor who received the alcohol directly causes any sort of damage, you’re likely to be held responsible. And unlike dram shop laws, these laws apply whether the minor was visibly intoxicated or not.

It’s important to note that minors who access alcohol stored in the home or elsewhere without it being furnished to them are fully responsible for their own actions. While arguments have been made in favor of holding parents liable in these situations, they’ve generally been unsuccessful, and there are no specific requirements concerning how alcohol is stored.

Build Your Case With Thomas, Conrad & Conrad

Have you sustained damage from a minor who may have been knowingly furnished with alcohol? If so, you may be entitled to compensation for your suffering. Reach out to Thomas, Conrad & Conrad Law Offices to discuss your situation today.


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