Holiday Party Liability Precautions

It is that time of year again, whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Festivas (for those of you who are Seinfeld fans), everyone is likely to attend some sort of holiday party.  Whether the holiday party is work sponsored or group of friends it is prudent to take steps for the party  host to protect themselves from potential liability from third parties injured by party goers after leaving the party.

Unlike some States,  Arizona  limits the party host’s (known as the social host) liability if one of their guest drinks to much, drives and causes injury to another person(s).  This liability exception does not apply if the host is an establishment that is licensed to sell liquor and/or beer.  Also, it does not apply if you are hosting a party and your teenager and some of his/her friends decided to drink, then drive and get into an accident which someone is inured.

At the end of the day there are certain things a social host can do to help limit their possible personal exposure.  First, check your homeowners or renter’s insurance to determine if there is an exclusion for liability arising out of the serving of alcohol.  If so consider purchasing additional insurance.  You could also arrange for car service for your guests, I recently attended a Halloween party which had to and from car service.  It was convenient and allowed me to have some cocktails with fellow party goers.   Also consider hiring a bar-tending service, while it may be an additional expense, it puts another barrier between the host and the potential liability.

The most important thing to remember is to safely enjoy the holiday season, and at the end of the day if you think you or someone you know is to intoxicated to drive, call a cab.