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If my son (17) was at a party, drank, then was involved in an accident, can we go after the person who's party it was?

Cumming, GA |

The car was not my sons, the owners of the car (their insurance) is seeking us out, can we pursue the individual that threw the party?

Attorney Answers 8

Posted

You don't give enough facts to properly answer the question, but I will try.

Assuming your son was injured, you can make a claim against the person who threw the party and against the parents / owners of the house.

That said, there are numerous hurdles to get over. First, you don't say who was driving. If your son was the driver and he caused the accident, you will probably not succeed, as his negligence in driving, and also drinking and driving, will be considered negligence that may bar his claim. Assuming Georgia is a comparative negligence state, your son's conduct will be compared to the homeowners / party thrower. To succeed against them you would have to prove that they knowingly served a minor and / or knew he was drunk and kept serving him anyway and/or allowed him to drive while being under the influence of alcohol, and that any negligence on your son's part was less than theirs, comparatively speaking.

If your son was not driving, you should simply make a claim against the driver. Again, however, if drinking was involved by your son and the driver, your son may be somewhat negligent for getting into the car with someone who was drinking, and this too is comparative negligence.

If what you are saying is that your son was the driver and he caused the accident, then the insurance company for the owner of the car needs to talk to your son so they can sort out any claims that are being made as a result of your son's wreck. If your son had permission to drive the car then he should be covered by the owner's car insurance for any damage he did. If your son did not have permission to drive the car, then he will likely be pursued for any damage he caused, because the owner's car insurance company will deny coverage.

The bottom line is you and your son need to talk to a personal injury lawyer in your area who is well versed on insurance coverage issues.

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1 comment

Marc Sean Hurd

Marc Sean Hurd

Posted

Just to add a point to Mr. Van Eman's well put and thorough response: If you son was the driver, and "the owners of the car (their insurance) is seeking" you out, I'm assuming that means that another party was injured as a result of your son's driving DUI. In that case, the injured party may be seeking to come after you as your son's parents. If that happens, I would say that you could "cross-complain" against the party hosts that served alcohol to your underage son. Whatever the circumstances or facts, this whole situation sounds potentially damaging to all, and you should seek the advice of a local attorney.

Posted

I am going to assume your son was driving. If your son was 15, say, the answer would be easier. At 17, can you, on behalf of your son, say that the adults are responsible for not managing the party properly? Legally, yes; but, I am not sure how likely this would be. Still, I STRONGLY recommend you actually meet and talk to an attorney, as I'd have lots and lots of questions, if you were in the room talking to me -- none of these questions are answered by your brief post.

The information is for general information purposes only. Receipt of this information or e-mail from our website, or other communications should NOT be construed as legal advice for any individual case or situation, nor the formation of an attorney-client relationship.

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Posted

Point of caution, report the accident to your insurance company.

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Posted

You don't state whether your son was injured. Any injured party may have an
action under your state's dram shop laws. If your son was not injured, he
has no action. Moreover, you say that your son "drank" but you do not state
whether his intoxication caused the accident. What was his BAC? This must
immediately be reported to your insurance company. They will walk you
through this.

If this information has been helpful, please indicate by clicking the up icon. Legal Disclaimer: Mr. Candiano is licensed to practice law in Illinois and Indiana. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Links: ccandiano@themargolisfirm.com http://www.themargolisfirm.com

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Posted

You would want to find out if your son has a claim under the Dram Shop law in your state.

Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer. www.InjuryLawyerPhiladelphia.com

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Posted

P.S. You can search Avvo for a personal injury lawyer in your state who will discuss the Dram Shop Law in your state with you. Good luck.

Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer. www.InjuryLawyerPhiladelphia.com

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Posted

Sounds like your son crashed the borrowed car and the collision coverage paid the owners of the vehicle. If that is the case, then no you cannot go after the party house owners...but. If you have car insurance, your son should be covered under that policy so that should pay fr the damage. If he is not covered, because of a named driver exclusion for example, then best bet is to offer to cooperate with the car insurer for them to file their subrogation claim against the party homeowner under a Dramshop theory.

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Posted

The answer to your question is maybe. In Georgia, parents, natural or custodial, of children under the age of 18 who are funished alcohol can sue any person that sells or funishes alcohol to the minor without the parents consent. O.C.G.A. s 39-1-1.

However, there are some restrictions:

1. Only parents may sue.
2. You probably cannot recover for any liability you incur to the insurance company. You can only sue for your own damages such as the cost of medical expenses for your child.
3. If another minor furnished the alcohol, even if the homeowner bought it, then you may not be able to sue the homeowner or the minor at all.

There are quit a few very difficult issues to sort through here, particularly if the accident was a major accident.

I would highly recommend that you contact an attorney for help on this issue. Any personal injury attorney in Georgia will likely be able to help you.

An attorney will probably also ask you to report this to your automobile insurance company or homeowners/renters insurance. In some cases, your liability may be covered, particularly if you have umbrella coverage. Additonally, if your liability is covered by insurance, then the insurance company would hire a lawyer for you.

Failure to inform your insurance company could result in the insurance company's duty to defend and pay being extinguished by contract.

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