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Are There Social Host Liability Laws in Tennessee for New Years?

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New Year’s Eve is one of the biggest nights in the country for drinking and celebrating. With drinking and partying comes the increased risk of getting behind the wheel and being involved in a drunk driving accident. Whether you are the person who was reckless, or you are someone who was injured by an intoxicated person’s negligence, there are certain laws in Tennessee that will affect the outcome of the accident.

It is important to understand third party liability laws in Tennessee. Knowing these laws can make a difference in the conclusion of your potential injury case. If you plan on drinking on New Year’s Eve, then you should know how you could recover compensation for personal injuries or property damage.


Tennessee law recognizes some third-party civil liability for alcohol-related injuries. However, the alcohol must have been sold to the person who caused the injury, and not served to social guests for free at a New Year’s party, for example. This means that dram shop laws are effective in Tennessee, but not social host civil laws.

Dram shop laws in Tennessee allow a person who is injured by an intoxicated person to seek damages from the vendor that sold that alcohol, but only if all of the following apply:

  • The vendor actually sold the alcohol to the drunk person
  • The person who purchased the alcohol was a minor under 21 or “visibly intoxicated”
  • The sale of the alcoholic beverage directly caused the injury.

A dram shop claim in Tennessee is a civil case, which means that the alcohol vendor’s liability will be monetary damages. These could include lost wages, medical bills, expenses for lost or damaged property, or pain and suffering from the injuries.

Even though a person who was injured by a drunk individual who was served alcohol at a social event can’t bring a personal injury claim against the party host, he or she can still bring a claim against the person who caused the injuries. Criminal liability can also be imposed on social hosts who give alcohol to minors or allow minors to drink on their property.

If you are injured by an intoxicated and reckless driver on New Year’s Eve, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against the negligent driver. Contact our Nashville personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of Stanley A. Davis today for a free consultation and more information.

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