Over 60 Years Of Combined Experience

Can I Be Liable in Montana for Serving Alcohol at a Party at My House?

On Behalf of | Jul 30, 2015 | Firm News

The State of Montana is one of 30 states that have statutes that specifically allow civil liability in cases of injury resulting from alcohol consumption. In Montana, a person or entity may be held liable for serving alcohol, which means that individuals serving alcohol to guests in their home or at social events can be sued for damages. The good news for individuals is that the circumstances under which they can be held liable is not as strict as for business entities.

Under the law, business entities, typically bars, can be held liable for serving alcohol under the following three circumstances:

  • to an individual it knows, or did not make a reasonable attempt to determine, was underage;
  • to a visibly intoxicated person; and
  • by forcing or coercing a person to drink alcohol or by telling a person that the drink was non-alcoholic.

Individuals serving alcohol to friends and guests can be held liable for serving alcohol to underage drinkers, for forcing guests to consume alcohol, and for telling guests that drinks were non-alcoholic. Individuals cannot, however, be held liable for serving alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person. In the case of serving alcohol to an underage drinker, individuals can also be subject to criminal prosecution.

Montana’s law provides that a person who is injured by someone who is intoxicated may sue the alcohol provider if it was provided under the circumstances noted above. The intoxicated person cannot sue the provider unless that he or she was under age 21 or was forced, coerced, or tricked into drinking alcohol. For example, where an intoxicated driver over the age of 21 is involved in a car accident with another vehicle, and both he and the other driver are injured, only the non-intoxicated driver may bring suit against the provider of the alcohol.

If you have been injured as a result of the actions of someone who was under the influence of alcohol, the law firm of Tipp & Buley can help. We have successfully handled numerous personal injury lawsuits involving drunk drivers. To schedule a confidential, one-on-one consultation to discuss your injury and damages, visit our website online or call 406-389-4215.