Sparkling parties make the holiday season fun. If you are hosting a party for your friends or co-workers, keeping your guests safe should be at the top of your to-do list. You do not want a guest to drink too much and subsequently injure someone in an accident.
The New York Dram Shop Law prohibits the sale of alcohol to people under 21 and to intoxicated adults. If an underage or intoxicated drinker subsequently injures someone, the person who sold the alcohol in violation of the law can be held liable.
But even hosts who serve complimentary alcohol to their guests should take steps to limit their liability. Some states have social host liability laws that impose legal responsibilities on people who furnish liquor to guests in a social setting.
These laws vary widely from state to state, and some states have local laws to address social host liability. Most of these laws are designed to keep alcohol out of the hands of minors.
Some offer an injured person, such as the victim of a drunk driving accident, a method to sue the host who provided alcohol to someone who was already intoxicated. In some circumstances, criminal charges may also apply.
Whether you are partying with a small group of friends or co-workers or throwing a big family reunion, remember that a good host is a responsible host.
Tips for Safe Parties
Here are some steps you can take to make sure your guests have fun without over imbibing:
- Hold your holiday event at a restaurant or other establishment that has a liquor license and professional bartenders. The pros know how to respond to guests who are consuming alcohol to excess.
- If you hold your event at your workplace or your home, consider hiring a bartender or caterer to serve the beverages. Confirm that your caterer carries liability insurance, and instruct bartenders and wait staff not to serve anyone who is visibly intoxicated.
- Limit the amount of alcohol you serve by providing drink tickets or serving drinks during a specific time frame.
- Schedule your party earlier in the day when people may be less likely to drink excessively.
- Provide alcohol-free beverages for nondrinkers and plenty of food, which helps slow the pace and the amount of drinking and reduces the rate of alcohol absorption in the bloodstream.
- Make sure your guests get home safely. Solicit nondrinking volunteers to serve as designated drivers; keep a list of taxi and limousine services handy; and if a guest simply can’t get home safely, insist that he or she spend the night.
- And remember, never serve alcohol to minors.
A few simple, thoughtful measures can keep your party enjoyable without risking the safety of your guests.