New Year’s Eve

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Q: My friend and I attended a New Year’s Eve party. We consumed alcohol. Upon leaving, my friend backed his truck out of the driveway onto the main road. Because of the vehicles parked adjacent to our hosts’ driveway, sightlines were limited. We collided with another vehicle. Eventually, he pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated.

A: In general, a landowner has a duty to act in a reasonable manner to prevent harm to those on their property. This includes both a duty to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition and a duty to warn of a latent, dangerous condition on the property. However, in these circumstances, our courts have held that your hosts had no duty to assist your friend as he pulled out of their driveway, or otherwise warn him that vehicles parked along the road next to the driveway may obstruct the view when exiting. Our courts have also held that your hosts were no longer in a position to control your friend when he entered his vehicle and drove away – that requiring social hosts to prevent intoxicated guests from leaving their property would inappropriately expand the concept of duty. The parked vehicles do not amount to a latent or dangerous condition on your hosts’ property. Even if your hosts may have been more aware of this potential obstruction than you, that did not create a duty on their part to assist or warn you.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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