It’s that time of the year when we get together with friends and family to celebrate the Christmas and New Year seasons. With these get-togethers, often time there is a cocktail or two that is involved. Years ago, we wouldn’t have been concerned about offering a friend a cocktail and then having that person hop behind the wheel and drive home. But things have changed. And we all need to be aware of these changes. If we are hosting an event where alcohol is served, we all need to be aware of the “legal” implications. If anything negative happens that could be connected to the alcohol you provided you may be held accountable for damages. The term is referred to as “Host Liquor Liability”. This is if your guest causes any damage, hurt themselves or even worse, there is a death because of having indulged at your party.

More and more we are hearing these advertisements on the television or radio. “If you’re a victim of a trip and fall, if you are injured on another’s property, if you or a family member were recently in a motor vehicle accident, bitten by a dog, or denied disability benefits, call the XXXXX Law Firm and we will help you manage the entire process” of squeezing every last ounce of flesh out of someone. The bottom line is that the legal responsibilities of insuring your guests do not over indulge and then hurt themselves or someone else now rests with you.

As a homeowner, your home insurance policy might not cover you for “host liquor liability”, so best to call your insurance broker and find out. If you are planning on a social event, it might be a consideration to purchase P.A.L. insurance for the get together. This acronym stands for Party Alcohol Liability. This type of insurance provides protection in the event a lawsuit is brought against you or your family. It is an inexpensive product that covers your back side in the event someone does have an accident. As we like to say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

You can also minimize the risk of trouble by not serving alcohol, setting up sleeping arrangements for guests, having designated drivers available or asking your guests for their car keys.

With the availability of local taxi companies and the growth of Uber, there is no reason for someone to slide behind the wheel after one too many cocktails. The holidays are about spending less time worrying and more time having fun! So let’s all be responsible when enjoying a cocktail or two during this time of the year. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everybody!!