Rhode Island Drunk Driving Accident Ruling

In Willis v. Omar, the Rhode Island Supreme Court ruled that there is no “social host” liability for homeowners who served alcohol to a couple who were later injured in a drunk-driving accident, the Rhode Island Supreme Court has ruled. The Rhode Island high court ruled that the court refuses to “adopt the principle that a social host owes a duty to a third party for injuries suffered by an intoxicated guest who was imbibing at his or her home….”

Rhode Island personal injury lawyers may disagree but I actually believe this is the correct ruling based on Rhode Island law. I think it is morally reprehensible to allow – or at least try to stop – a drunk driver when you served or make the alcohol available. But I do think it may be difficult to put the monitoring burden on a bar or the server of alcohol at a party even in this case where the driver had a BAC of .196. But it should depend on the facts. If you certainly know that someone is drunk and just say “Hey, have a great night” it seems like there is something awful about that. Should that be a tort if a third party is injured? I don’t know.

The injured Plaintiff did receive a $300,000 settlement in the personal injury case against the drunk driver himself but it hardly compensated her for her catastrophic injuries which included an amputated leg.