The Best Defensive Line For You & Your Guests
Be A Responsible Host When Serving Alcohol.
Whether you are hosting a Super Bowl party or celebrating a birthday with friends in your home, if you are planning to serve alcohol at any type of event it is important to take steps to limit your liquor liability and make sure you have the proper insurance.
Social host liability, the legal term for the criminal and civil responsibility of a person who furnishes liquor to a guest, can have a serious impact on party throwers. “Dram Shop Liability” laws vary widely from state to state, but 43 states (including RI) have them on the books. While a host is not liable for injuries sustained by a drunken guest (as they are also negligent), the host can be held liable for third parties, and may be liable for their guest’s passengers. Before planning a party in your home, understand your homeowners coverage and any exclusions, conditions or limitations your policy has for this kind of risk. Homeowners insurance usually provides some liquor liability coverage, but it may not be enough.
Most importantly, remember that a good host is a responsible host; one that takes steps to ensure their guests get home safely if they have been drinking.
The Defensive Line: How to Protect Yourself & Your Guests
- Make sure you understand your state laws. Rhode Island has strict laws pertaining specifically to furnishing alcohol to minors.
- Consider venues other than your home for the party. Hosting a party at a restaurant or bar with a liquor license, minimizes your liability.
- Hire a professional bartender. Most bartenders are trained to recognize signs of intoxication and are better able to limit consumption by guests.
- Encourage guests to pick a designated driver who will not drink alcoholic beverages so that he or she can drive other guests home.
- Be a responsible host/hostess. Limit your own alcohol intake so that you will be better able to judge your guests’ sobriety.
- Offer non-alcoholic beverages and always serve food. Eating and drinking plenty of water, or other non-alcoholic beverages, can help counter the effects of alcohol.
- Do not pressure guests to drink or rush to refill their glasses when empty. And never serve alcohol to guests who are visibly intoxicated.
- Stop serving liquor before the party ends. Switch to coffee, tea and soft drinks.
- If guests drink too much or seem too tired to drive home, call a cab, arrange a ride with a sober guest or have them sleep at your home.
- Encourage all your guests to wear seat-belts as they drive home. Seat-belts save lives.