Summer is the season of partying and celebration. Graduations, pool parties, family get-togethers and Fourth of July barbecues are all essential elements of life for millions of Americans.
If you plan on taking advantage of the warm weather to host a party, though, be warned that choosing a wide selection of food and a decent playlist shouldn’t be your only concerns. You should also think about your legal liability in the case of a party-related accident. Slips and falls on walkways and sidewalks around your house or apartment, guests driving from your home under the influence of alcohol, and instances of underage drinking all present potential legal problems for the party host. If you want to protect your finances, be sure that you take the following precautions before throwing your party.
Manage the flow of alcohol at your party
Alcohol is the driving force behind many party-related accidents. If you plan on serving alcohol in any form at your party, be sure that all of the guests partaking are 21 years of age or older. Any instances of underage drinking at your party will give your insurance company grounds to deny coverage in the case of an accident.
Alcohol can liven up a party, but it’s not necessary to having a good time. There are plenty of non-alcoholic punch and cocktail recipes online that can work as stand-ins for the traditional cocktail. Safety-minded party hosts might want to consider this possibility, especially if the party involves children or potentially dangerous elements (for example, slippery surfaces near a pool.) If you feel that you need alcohol at your party, though, be sure to avoid serving very many salty snacks – these foods tend to make eaters thirsty and result in higher alcohol consumption.
Prevent drunk driving
DUIs are a serious problem, but as a party host, you can do a great deal to prevent them. Ask that guests who plan on drinking hand over their keys and make sure that designated drivers are present. As your guests begin to leave, make sure that they are sober before returning their keys. One sure-fire way to prevent drunk driving is to employ a breath-based alcohol detector. If your departing guest blows an unacceptably high BAC, he doesn’t get his keys back until he’s sobered up. Simple but effective versions of the Breathalyzer that law enforcement agencies use to catch drunk drivers are available for sale online, and they can literally save lives. Be sure to have a taxi company’s number handy in case some of your guests are too drunk to sober up within the space of an hour or two.
Secure potentially dangerous areas
If you’re concerned about any of the walkways or railings around your home, have them checked before you throw your party. Speak with your superintendent or the homeowner if you’re a renter or the space in question is outside of your apartment or house.
Pools can be especially dangerous. If you have a pool, be sure to have someone supervising the pool area at all times – preferably someone who is physically able to swim and save someone from drowning if necessary.
Determine your liability coverage
Most people don’t have liability coverage that will protect them in the event of a serious mishap. Be sure to read your apartment or homeowner’s policy and consult with your insurance agent before holding your party. Liability coverage is not very expensive, so it may be a good idea to buy a higher level of coverage to be safe.
Parties are supposed to be fun. As a party host, you won’t have any fun if you’re worrying about the safety of your surroundings or the behavior of your guests. Put your mind at peace and take the above precautions when planning your party, and you’ll be prepared to have a great time.
Fanning Law, LLC Can Help
The facts of each case are unique and the laws in each state are different. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. It is not legal advice. For more information about your specific questions, contact Bill Fanning at Fanning Law, LLC - The Offices of William C. Fanning, Jr. - 301.934.3620 or at www.fanninglawllc.com.
Article courtesy of You Blawg.com by Bill Nixon on June 6, 2013.