What Is The Social Host Liability Law in Las Vegas?

woman drinking beer
Madeleine Jones
January 20, 2021

When there is an accident related to alcohol, many states allow injured victims to seek damages. Not only from the person who caused the accident but from the business that provided the alcohol as well. These are called dram shop laws. Nevada in particular is one of the few states that doesn’t impose dram shop liability. That is unless the person that was intoxicated and caused an accident was a minor. Here, we’ll go over Nevada’s rules regarding social host liability after an accident caused by alcohol.

girls drinking on rooftop

Dram Shop Law in Nevada

According to the Nevada Revised Statutes section 41.1305, it doesn’t allow you to file dram shop claims against a business or person based on the selling or giving alcohol to someone over 21 years old. This law says that if someone sells or gives alcoholic beverages to someone else over 21 years old they can’t be liable in a civil lawsuit for any damages the drunk person causes.

On the other hand, if the alcoholic beverage was given to a minor, that person or business can be liable for any injuries the minor might have inflicted on a third party.

Example of Dram Shop Law:

Let’s say, Melissa, an 18-year old college student stops at a bar on her way home from work. The bartender decides Melissa looks like she’s 21 years old and serves her many drinks. Eventually, Melissa tries to get up from the table, stumbles, and falls against Sarah, who is sitting on the table next to Melissa’s. Sarah falls to the floor and gets injured. Sarah may file a personal injury claim in a Nevada court against Mellissa, under the negligence basis. However, Melissa is underage. In this case, Sarah can also file a dram shop claim against the bar for giving alcohol to Melissa. If Melissa had been over 21 at the time of the accident, Sarah wouldn’t be able to bring a dram shop claim against the bar in Nevada. It doesn’t matter how drunk Melissa was. This kind of claim is barred in Nevada.

Social Host Liability in Nevada

Dram shop laws in Nevada also allows the injured victim to seek damages against a social host that gives alcohol to minors or allows a minor to drink alcohol on their property. An injured person can’t seek damage against a social host if the person who caused the injuries is over 21 years of age.

Here is an example: Let’s say 18-year-old Melissa goes to a party hosted by her neighbor, David. David has a keg of beer set up for his guests. But, he doesn’t check Melissa’s age or stops her from drinking many beers. Eventually, Melissa tries to join the crowd in the basement, but she falls down the stairs. On her way down, she crashes into Sarah, and Sarah ends up falling down the stairs and gets injured.

Under the social host law in Nevada, Sarah can file a claim against David for allowing Melissa, who is underage, to drink beer on his property. 

According to the Nevada Revised Statutes section 202.055, criminal liability can be imposed on those who provide alcohol to underage minors. The law says its a misdemeanor to:

  • Sell or give alcohol to someone under 21 years old
  • Placing alcohol somewhere with the intention that someone under age drinks it
  • Give money to someone underage knowing it will me spend on alcohol

Damages and Statutes of Limitations 

A social host liability claim or a dram shop claim is a civil case, this means that liability is only in terms of money damages. The most common types of damages people seek in these cases include compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.

In certain cases, Nevada law also allows the injured person to seek punitive damages. Unlike monetary damages, punitive damages seek to punish bad cases of negligence or recklessness, as well as intentional behavior.

Social host liability claims in Nevada, like any other civil claim, has to be filed before the statute of limitations expires. In Nevada, these claims have to be filed within the first two years of the date of injury.

Get Help From The Experts

If you’ve been injured by an intoxicated underage person, you deserve compensation. However, it can be hard to know who can be held liable for your damages. At Cogburn Law, our team of personal injury lawyers can help you and defend your case. We can also secure a reasonable settlement. Give us a call at (702) 748-7777 for a free consultation.

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