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Fault in Nevada Drunk Driving Crashes with Underage Drivers

By Burg Simpson
October 8, 2019
3 min read

Who is Responsible When an Underage Drinker Causes an Accident?

Nevada’s laws are famously permissive when it comes to alcohol and other vices, but the drinking age in Nevada is still 21. As every car insurance agent knows, people younger than 21 are at the highest risk of causing a car accident, even if they have never touched alcohol. The dark desert highways in Nevada overflow with all manner of temptations, and the younger you are, the less you can resist speeding, texting, or taking selfies while you drive on them. Further adding to Nevada as a site of ill-advised behavior by young adults, Las Vegas advertises itself as a place where young adults can come to make mistakes and then go back across state lines to forget they ever happened. None of this is any consolation if someone younger than 21 has hit your car, leaving you with serious injuries and a mountain of bills. Nevada law offers remedies for people injured in accidents, vehicular and otherwise, caused by underage drinkers, namely social host liability lawsuits.

Nevada Social Host Liability Laws

Nevada’s dram shop laws make it possible for a person injured in an accident caused by an underage drinker to sue the person, organization or, in certain circumstances, the business that provided the alcohol that got the young person drunk.  While these laws would rarely apply to bars, restaurants, and casinos, they oftentimes extend to private residences where the owner served alcohol to underage guests or even parents who passively allowed them to drink, knowing that they were underage. Bars, restaurants, and party hosts are not liable for injuries caused by drunk people who are old enough to buy alcohol. In Nevada, people aged 21 or older are free to drink to excess, but they alone are responsible for damages they cause while drunk.

This is important in several ways for personal injury lawsuit plaintiffs injured by underage drunk drivers.

  • You might have a case against a person who served alcohol to an underage person at a party in their home.
  • Even if the homeowner was not home during the party, but left alcohol in the house, he or she could still be liable.
  • You can even sue an adult for giving money to an underage person, knowing he or she would use the money to buy alcohol illegally.

Therefore, Nevada social host liability laws define the term “drunk person who caused an accident” narrowly, in that they only apply to underage drinkers. They define “social host” broadly, though, including absentee party hosts and parents who make a point of giving money to their teens without asking where the money goes.

Contact A Nevada Injury Lawyer About Drunk Driving Accident Cases

Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine is a Colorado-based law firm with offices in six states, including Nevada. Contact us today if you have been injured in an accident related to underage drinking in Nevada and are considering filing a lawsuit.

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