Friend Fell in My House While Intoxicated...

by Quang
(St. Cloud, MN, USA)

A friend of mine came over to my house one night and had a few beers down in my room in the basement. At one point he went upstairs to use the bathroom. Afterwards, on his way down one short staircase, he slipped and fell on his back while having a drink in one hand.

Long story short, he had to go to the hospital that night and stayed there for a couple days. Two days ago, he asked if he could come over to take pictures of my staircase. This got me really worried. Can he take legal action against me? Thanks for any response!

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Friend Fell in My House While Intoxicated...":

Quang (St. Cloud, MN. USA):

You really don't have anything to worry about. Your "friend" had a few beers. The legal limit for intoxication in the State of Minnesota is .08%. Reaching .08% isn't very difficult. Two beers on an empty stomach can easily put a person at .09 or .10%.

Your friend may ask you for the name of your homeowners insurance company. You don't have any legal duty to give him that information. If he wants to sue you he will be in for a surprise.

Self-intoxication normally bars recovery for an injury. Whether your friend admits his fall was as a result of intoxication matters little. You can be assured if he files a case against you he won't get very far. As soon as the judge asks him how many beers he consumed he will be stopped "dead in his tracks".

In all likelihood if he does file a case it will be in Small Claims Court. He will have to file the case himself because no attorney will likely accept his case.

If he does file a small claims action you will be served with some papers by the local constable or sheriff. If you are served DON'T Be UPSET! It's not a criminal case, it's a civil case. If you are served there will be a time and place you are to go for the hearing. If there were any other friends in the house drinking with you, bring them as witnesses. If it was just the both of you just show up yourself.

When you appear all you will have to do is tell the judge the story. She will in all likelihood dismiss your friend's case in about 30 seconds. When she does ask the judge to order your friend to pay you any lost wages. Ask the judge for an additional amount for the emotional distress your friend put you through. You may be happily surprised.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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