Can I Be Held Liable for an Underage Drunk Driving Accident?

Do you have teenage children who like to throw parties? Make sure you pay attention to their behaviors and avoid allowing them to drink alcohol in your home.

National Public Radio had an interesting story recently about underage drinking, saying that on any given weekend teenagers receive three to four text messages about parties.

The news outlet interviewed researchers with the Prevention Research Center in Oakland, which polled 1,100 teenagers living in Northern California. Of the teenagers, 39 percent said that they hosted parties with alcohol, while 70 percent said their parents knew kids at the party were drinking.

The researchers also interviewed parents who said they allowed their children to drink for a variety of reasons, including “concern about alienating their children to worries that imposing strict rules might encourage more dangerous rebellion.”

Many parents said that they believed it was safer for their child to drink at their house rather than somewhere else, according to NPR.

Because of this trend, 28 states, including Tennessee, have social host liability laws. These laws hold adults responsible for any underage drinking that occurs on their property.

Keep in mind, not only can an adult be held criminally liable for allowing underage drinking to occur in his or her home, if someone is involved in a vehicle accident following a party on his or her property, he or she can be held civilly liable.


You should never allow a guest, especially a teenager, to become intoxicated on your property. There are no excuses. From 2003 to 2007, there was an average of 9,480 drunk driving accidents each year in Tennessee, according to the Department of Public Safety. This is unacceptable.

These avoidable accidents often end in death and catastrophic injuries. If you have been hurt by a drunk driver or sustained a wrongful death in your family, our Nashville vehicle accident lawyer has decades of experience assisting victims.

“Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.” – Jeremiah 17:7

Davis’ Words of Wisdom: In 2012, there were 295 fatal vehicle accidents on Tennessee roadways involving drunk drivers.