It's the holidays and it's time to party. But before going all crazy this Christmas, you may want to consider that the host of a party may be liable for holiday party injuries and other party-related incidents.
So as you prepare the food, entertainment, and beverages that make a holiday party fun, you should also prepare the designated drivers and babysitters, and perform the chores that make a holiday party safe.
Here are some ways to limit your holiday party liability:
Make your premises safe. Your home may contain unsuspecting dangers to people unfamiliar with the house. For example, if you have a backyard swimming pool, you will want to cover it. Even in the dead of winter, there is nothing more inviting to the inebriated than a pool. Also take care to repair or remove objects in your home that could pose a safety hazard, as these may lead to liability.
Pipe down and control your guests. If you'll be partying all night, you may want to warn your neighbors about the noise. Consider giving them a fruit basket to stay on their good terms, or just look up your local laws and turn down the volume when it gets late so you don't get police called out to your house.
Call a cab if needed. Crazy Uncle Al may have had a few too many drinks (as usual). Make sure you don't let him drive himself home. Call a cab. That may save his life and also prevent any liability you may face as a social host.
It's 10 o'clock. Do you know where your children are? It's easy to get caught up being the host of a party and ensuring that everyone is having a good time. However, you should always keep track of the young ones, including your kids and anyone else's. If kids (especially teenagers) somehow get into trouble, you could be charged with contributing to a minor's delinquency.
If you find yourself on the hook for some sort of holiday party liability, you will want to talk to an experienced attorney near you. An injury or other incident does not automatically mean that you are liable, so you'll want an expert to help explain your defenses and options.