Visitors to New Orleans often have a misconception that the city has relaxed regulations when it comes to underage drinking. In fact, the drinking age in Louisiana is twenty-one, and it is illegal to serve alcohol to minors. Moreover, if an intoxicated minor injures someone, the party who provided the alcohol could potentially be exposed to civil liability.
When an intoxicated adult causes a personal injury, Louisiana Revised Statute 9:2800.1 limits the liability of those who sold, served or furnished the alcoholic beverage to the individual. It also provides a similar immunity to a social host for injuries occurring off-premises. The statute provides that it is the consumption of intoxicating beverages, rather than the sale or serving of such beverages, that is the proximate cause of any injury.
These same rules, however, do not necessarily apply to selling or serving alcohol to minors. Portions of the statute are expressly limited to individuals of legal age who purchase alcohol. Also, the Louisiana Supreme Court has specifically held that the statute does not protect a party from potential liability arising from the sale or furnishing of alcohol to a minor.
As a result, a party that provides alcohol to a minor may be sued if that minor causes an injury. The party that provided the alcohol, however, is not always liable in these situations. Instead, whether the provider is responsible must be determined on a case by case basis.
If you have been injured by an intoxicated person and have any questions regarding your rights, please feel free to call us at 504-581-6411 or 877-581-6411.