As holiday season approaches, so too does holiday party planning. While it’s understandable that you want your party to be fun, relaxing, and memorable, you need to think about your liability as a host if you plan on serving alcohol. Here’s what you need to know before you plan your holiday get togethers.
Understanding Social Host Laws
In North Carolina, if someone is injured by an intoxicated driver, they can sue the driver and the business or third party who provided the alcohol. Businesses like bars and restaurants are governed by dram laws. Hosts of parties have to worry about social host liability. To seek damages, the injured person or their estate has to show three things:
- You served or provided the person who caused the injury alcohol.
- You knew or should have known the person was intoxicated.
- You knew they would be driving after being served alcohol.
Unfortunately, all three elements are too common during and after holiday parties. Hosts know to remind everyone to have a designated driver, but what you say doesn’t help in a liability claim. It’s what you do that matters most.
Planning Your Holiday Parties
When you plan your holiday parties this season, you have two choices: don’t serve alcohol at all or take precautions when you do offer alcohol. If the threat of someone getting hurt or causing an accident is too much to bear, you can throw a dry party and eliminate the potential liability. Yes, plenty of people can have fun without the alcohol.
But if not serving alcohol isn’t an option you want to take, you’ll need to make several preparations for your party.
- Take keys from party-goers and arrange transportation. You can have a friend or family member act as a designated driver or you can use Uber or Lyft to get everyone home.
- Have intoxicated guests stay the night. Plan for this ahead of time by knowing where everyone can sleep and having plenty of blankets and pillows. The more reasons for going home you can eliminate, the better.
- Stop serving alcohol after a certain time. Maybe you only serve wine and beer with dinner or offer a cocktail before dinner and switch to coffee and tea after dinner. But don’t serve alcohol from start to finish.
- Make food and other non-alcoholic drinks available. The food can help decrease the effects of alcohol and some people will choose a soda or coffee if it’s available.
- Check your North Carolina home insurance liability limits. Even with the best precautions, accidents can still happen. Make sure you have plenty of insurance coverage before the party in case someone gets into a bad accident on the way home after the party. You may want to consider an umbrella insurance policy, too.
You can still throw your big holiday bash and serve wine at your holiday feast. You simply need to be careful and plan accordingly. Planning ahead of time means you have less to worry about during the festivities.
Not sure you have enough liability insurance coverage? Looking for an insurance policy that will actually help you when the worst happens? Contact Charlotte Insurance today for a free quote on a new home insurance policy.