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Alaska Dram Shop Laws & Social Host Liability


If you suffered an injury caused by an intoxicated person in Alaska, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against that individual for financial compensation. However, in some cases, you might be able to sue the business or person that gave or served the intoxicated individual alcohol. Lawsuits against an alcohol vendor—such as a bar, restaurant, or any person or business licensed to sell alcohol—are known as “dram shop” claims, while claims against non-vendors that provide alcohol to a guest who later causes an accident are called “social host liability” lawsuits. 

Dram Shop Law in Alaska 

According to Alaska law, an alcohol vendor can be held responsible for the actions of an intoxicated patron if the vendor provided the alcohol and the person was either already clearly impaired or under 21 years of age (the legal drinking age). 

For example, let’s say someone at a bar is already in a drunken state by slurring his/her words or experiencing difficulties walking or sitting upright, but a bartender continues serving alcohol to that individual even though the bartender is aware that the patron is visibly intoxicated. The patron then leaves the bar and drives off, but then crashes into another vehicle and injures the other driver. The injured party may seek damages against the patron and file a dram shop lawsuit against the bar for continuing to serve the at-fault driver after he/she was already under the influence. 

When it comes to a person under 21, he/she does not have to be in a drunken state prior to the accident for the alcohol vendor to be held liable for damages. 

Alaska Social Host Liability Law 

In general, a social host can be held liable for the actions of an intoxicated guest only if the host was aware the guest was under 21 years old and provided alcohol to him/her anyway. Therefore, social hosts cannot be blamed for the actions of an intoxicated guest who is at least 21. 

Statute of Limitations for Dram Shop & Social Host Liability Claims in Alaska 

Similar to other injury-related cases, the statute of limitations (or time limit) that an injured person must file a dram shop or social liability hose lawsuit is within two years of the date of the injury. Common damages from these claims include medical expenses, lost income, as well as pain and suffering. 

If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident in Anchorage, call The Law Offices of David Henderson at (888) 295-6566 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a free consultation. Our firm has helped our clients recover millions of dollars for more than two decades!