If you’re serving cocktails at your holiday party or gathering, and one of your guests gets into an accident driving drunk, you could be held responsible.
There are easy ways to limit your risk and create a safer environment for your friends and family. The Insurance Information Institute, an insurance group, has these tips:
• Check how much coverage your homeowners policy includes for liability risks, including those for property damage, injuries and alcohol-related risks.
• Understand what you could be liable for under your state’s laws. In Florida, party hosts are responsible for their guests’ actions after leaving a party intoxicated only if the guests are minors or people addicted to alcohol.
• Try hosting the party away from home. A restaurant or bar can help you take a load off when it comes to preparing food and drinks, and they can also take the heat if something goes awry. Make sure they have a liquor license.
• Hire a professional bartender. They’re trained to spot impending drunkenness and to put the kibosh on it. Check if their insurance for covering general risks, such as damage to property, and liability related to serving alcohol would apply if something goes wrong.
• Don’t get drunk. How are you going to know if your guests are sober enough to drive if you can’t stand straight yourself?
• Serve tempting non-alcoholic beverages and food. If your guests can’t resist your homemade cucumber-and-peppermint flavored water or strawberry-rosemary soda, it may help counter the effects of the booze they’re drinking.
• Don’t pressure guests to drink. You’re not having a kegger. Also, don’t refill empty glasses. Your good intentions could create hazards for your guests.
• Cut off cocktails the last couple of hours. Switch to coffee, tea and soft drinks. A good caffeine boost will make them forget all about booze.
• Ask guests to pick a designated driver who won’t drink and remind them to wear seat belts when they leave. It’s not too much to ask coming from the person who threw the fun-filled bash.
• Call cabs, arrange rides or allow people to sleep over if they seem out of it. Maybe you can make them help you clean up in the morning.