Social Host Liability

Are you hosting a party during the holidays? Will you be serving alcohol at your party? If so, there are a few things you should know about regarding social host liability when serving alcohol.

Can You Be Sued if a Party Guest Causes a Traffic Accident?

As a host, you need to be aware of whether a guest is drinking too much, especially if that person is going to get behind the wheel of a vehicle. In addition, you need to be concerned with a guest who might be injured in a fall or could be injured in an assault with another guest. If the guest is intoxicated at the time of the incident, you could be liable.

Most lawsuits involving the service of alcohol to someone who then causes an injury or is injured usually are against restaurants, bars, or other places that serve alcohol to customers. The fact that you are a private host in your home may not get you out of the liability for damages that an intoxicated guest causes.

For example, if you continue to serve alcoholic beverages to someone who is evidently intoxicated, and that person crashes his/her car into another vehicle, the occupants of the other vehicle might sue you for damages. Because DUI accident cases can have substantial damages because of severe injuries, the victims often look for third parties to hold liable to increase the amount of money they can recover for damages.

The court would determine if you are liable based on the facts of the case and the current laws regarding social liability. However, it is not worth taking the risk of being sued because another person negligently drove a vehicle while intoxicated. It is better to take steps to prevent the scenario from happening.

Safety Tips for Social Hosts When Serving Alcoholic Beverages

To help avoid an incident with an intoxicated guest at your party, you might want to consider these safety tips:

  • Hire a bartender to assist in watching for signs of intoxication. A bartender is trained to watch for these signs so that they can cut off customers. Because you are busy with other duties, the bartender can help by notifying you of any issues. Furthermore, if you are hosting a large party, you will need extra eyes on the guests.
  • Make sure that you serve ample choices of non-alcoholic drinks in addition to plenty of water and food. Serve food throughout the entire evening.
  • Stop serving alcohol one to two hours before the end of your party. You can tie this to serving dessert with various coffee beverages instead of alcohol.
  • Use smaller cups and glasses to serve alcoholic drinks while using standard size cups and glasses to serve non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Have a plan for dealing with guests who have had too much to drink. Arrange for a person to drive the guest home or call a cab to take the guest home. You need to make sure your guest gets home safely.
  • Check with your insurance agent to determine if your insurance policy covers incidents that could arise at a party you host.
  • Avoid serving shooters, doubles, and drinks that mask the amount of alcohol that is actually in the drink (i.e. rum punch).

The most important thing you can do is remain sober yourself. You need to be alert and ready to handle any issues that might arise at your party.

Ontario Personal Injury Lawyers

We hope that you have a safe and enjoyable holiday. However, if you or a loved one is injured as a result of an impaired driver, the personal injury lawyers at Diamond and Diamond will be there to help you with your claim and obtaining the compensation you deserve.

For a free consultation with an Ontario personal injury lawyer, contact Diamond and Diamond by calling 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak to someone now.





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