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Hawaii Bar, Liquor Store, and Social Host Liability Laws


Bars may be liable for injuries and/or death caused by a drunk driver if the bar keeper served liquor to a drunk driver and knew or should have known that the driver was under the influence of liquor at the time liquor was served to the drunk driver. Ono v. Applegate, 62 Haw. 131, 138, 612 P.2d 533, 540 (1980). However, a drunk driver cannot bring a claim against a bar keeper for his or her own injuries caused by his/her own intoxicated state. Winters v. Silver Fox Bar, 71 Haw. 524, 530, 797 P.2d 51, 54 (1990).

Liquor Store

If a liquor store owner or operator sells alcohol to a minor, the liquor store may be liable for the injuries and/or death of innocent third parties caused by an intoxicated minor even if the injuries or death were caused by a minor other than the minor who purchased the alcohol from the liquor store. Reyes v. Kuboyama, 76 Haw. 137, 870 P.2d 1281 (1994).

Social Hosts

Social hosts are generally not liable for injuries or death caused by a drunk driver who consumed alcohol at the social event. Johnston v. KFC National Management Company, 71 Haw. 229, 233-34, 788 P.2d 159, 162 (1990). However, a social host may be liable for injuries or death caused by a drunk driver who is under twenty-one years old if the social host is twenty-one years or older and either provides alcohol or could have prevented the consumption of alcohol of persons whom he/she knows is under the age of twenty-one years. Hawaii Revised Statutes § 663-41.

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No matter what your situation is, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney.  Louis P. Mendonca, Attorney at Law, will fight to protect your and your family’s legal rights.

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