The holidays are a time for gathering, and we open our homes to family and friends and our businesses to suppliers and customers to celebrate the past year. Unfortunately, we’ve seen a growing number of lawsuits when people host these parties.
Here are some tips to help prevent the possibility of being sued over the holiday season.
- Watch What You Eat and Feed Others: Hosts are still responsible, even if they did not prepare the food, themselves. Hosts should check the food, being careful not to serve anything that appears to be undercooked, spoiled or contaminated. Using reputable purveyors and following proper food-handling and storage recommendations can help hosts prevent food-borne illness. When in doubt, throw it out.
- Mix up the Activities, not just the Cocktails: Parties that center on drinking often result in guests drinking more, and although the holidays are a time for celebration, too much drinking could result in drunk driving accidents, for which the host could be responsible. Providing activities or entertainment that do not involve alcohol, serving filling food and non-alcoholic beverages for guests and making sure that designated drivers are established ahead of time can assist in preventing accidents.
- Party Elsewhere: Hosting a party at a public location, such as a restaurant or bar that has a liquor license, can help decrease liability for hosts.
- Call a Cab, Get a Room or Have a Slumber Party: Arranging transportation or overnight accommodations for guests are a much safer alternative that eliminates drinking and driving.
- Just Say No: Hosts should be on the lookout for any guests who appear visibly intoxicated in order to prevent accidents. Encouraging party hosts to stop serving alcohol at least one hour before the party is scheduled to end or hiring an off-duty police officer or bouncer to monitor guests’ sobriety or handle any alcohol-related problems are some possible solutions for hosts looking to lower their risk.
Know the Laws
- Do Your Homework: Homeowners should consider looking at their homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy to gain a thorough understanding of how far their coverage policies extend if they are sued and found liable for accidents involving a guest who drinks and drives or becomes ill after consuming food in their home. Reviewing liability coverage limits to ensure adequate coverage can give hosts peace of mind in the midst of planning their holiday party.
- Consider an Umbrella Policy: Although holiday partygoers and hosts are expected to behave responsibly, some do not always know their limits. Hosts can take preventative measures, but risks cannot be entirely eliminated. Planning ahead can be the best defense for Christmas dinner hosts and purchasing a personal “umbrella” liability policy may be a practical option for those who frequently hosts dinners and get-togethers.
The correct insurance policy can often help ease the financial burden of fighting a lawsuit. Call Heritage Insurance today at (306) 693-7640