Louisiana Dram Shop Laws and Social Host Liability for Alcohol-Related Accidents

When an intoxicated person injures someone else in Louisiana, can a third party be liable for providing the alcohol?

By , Attorney

Generally, anyone who's injured by an intoxicated person can file a personal injury lawsuit against that person. However, in some circumstances, an injured party might also be able to seek damages from the person or business that supplied the intoxicated person with alcohol. These third-party liability laws are sometimes called "dram shop" and "social host liability" laws.

Here are the basics on how third-party liability works for an alcohol-related accident in Louisiana.

Louisiana's Anti-Dram Shop Law

Louisiana has an anti-dram shop law that prohibits third-party liability claims against licensed alcohol vendors in most circumstances. Basically, the law says an alcohol vendor can't be held liable for the damages caused off the premises by an intoxicated patron where the patron was of the lawful drinking age. However, if these conditions aren't met—for example, if the patron was underage or the injuries occurred on the premises—the liability shield doesn't apply.

Social Host Liability in Louisiana

Louisiana also has an anti-social host liability law that is nearly identical to the anti-dram shop law. The only difference is the law applies to non-vendors, people that aren't licensed to sell alcohol. So, a social host can't be held liable for the damages caused off the premises by an intoxicated guest where the guest was of the lawful drinking age.

Damages and Time Limits in Louisiana Personal Injury Cases

Personal injury damages are intended to compensate an injured person for all losses that resulting from an accident, including:

  • medical bills
  • lost wages and other lost income
  • future costs for ongoing medical care or lost capacity to work due to disability
  • value of damaged or destroyed property, and
  • pain and suffering.

Injury-related lawsuits in Louisiana must be filed within one year of the date of injury under the state's statute of limitations. But, given that every case is different, you should always consult an attorney as soon as possible after suffering an injury to ensure your rights are protected.

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