You’re having a New Year’s Eve party, and you’re surrounded by family and friends. Cousin Harry has had a bit too much to drink, again, and you’ve just succeeded in getting him out the door. Now you can relax. But here comes Rover, overexcited by the guests, he runs into Sue who falls and bangs her head on the coffee table. Her glass flies across the room, and now there’s red wine all over your new beige carpet! Sue’s dazed, can’t get up, and a big goose egg is coming up on her forehead. Her husband calls 911 and she is rushed to the hospital, all the while screaming that she’ll sue you and your little dog, too!
Then the phone rings. It’s Cousin Harry. While driving out of your crescent, he smashed into another car, causing injuries to the other driver, and to himself. The police have given him a breathalizer, and are now on their way to see you, as Harry’s told them you served him the liquor.
Sound like a nightmare? It is! And it could happen to you.
As the host of a party you have some responsibilities. Here is a countdown of tips to help you have a happy, worry free party:
- Have plenty of non-alcohol and low-alcohol drinks available.
- Pour the drinks, rather than having an open bar and letting guests serve themselves. This way you’ll have a better handle on how much they drink.
- Stop serving alcohol long before it’s time for your guests to leave.
- Plan to serve food at the party.
- Check with your insurance agent to see if you have coverage for Host liquor liability. This is an extra coverage you may want to purchase, just in case. It is often a required coverage, if you’re holding your party at another location, such as a community hall.
- Make sure you’ve cleared your walks if it snows, or if the walks are icy. Even your friends may sue you for their injuries if they slip and fall.
- If you have a dog, keep him in a separate area, away from your guests while the party’s on. A normally calm dog may get excited when your house is full of guests.
- Make sure you have a comprehensive home insurance policy. If your guests spill wine on your carpet, you may need to put in a claim. Or, your guest may have “Voluntary property damage” on their home insurance, and can claim the damage on their policy. Talk to an insurance agent for more information.
- Make sure your guests all have a way to get home safely, and if not, put them up for the night.
- Have a good time!
These tips can help you to protect yourself when hosting a party. Make sure your New Year’s Eve party is a time for celebration, not litigation!