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Can a drunk driving victim sue a party host for injuries in North Carolina?

North Carolina courts have recognized liability for party hosts who knowingly served alcohol to underage drivers. Since no law directly addresses this, the question is answered on a case-by-case basis.

To succeed with a personal injury or wrongful death claim against a party host, the plaintiff must show all the following:

  • The drunk driver was younger than 21 and consumed alcohol at the defendant’s party.
  • The party host provided the alcohol consumed by the underage driver.
  • The driver caused the crash in which the plaintiff suffered injuries or died.
  • The injuries or death resulted directly from the crash.
  • The party host knew of should have known that the driver was under the legal age to consume alcohol.
  • The party host knew or should have know the driver would be driving after consuming alcohol.


Eric K. Washburn
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Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia