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Super Bowl parties are up there with 4th of July celebrations and Thanksgiving feasts as great American traditions. Unfortunately, another tradition for some is lawsuits. Obviously, you are only inviting friends to your Super Bowl bash, but a friend brings a friend and next thing you know you have welcomed some strangers into your home. Even if you only have a few people over, it doesn’t hurt to check your homeowners or renters insurance for coverage.
Anytime you host an event where alcohol is served, there is the possibility of some liability issues arising. Slip and fall accidents become more probable. Property damage (yours) is another distinct possibility. Even thefts, inadvertent, of course, can occur. Check your policy to be sure you are covered.
There is also Social Host Liability, which underscores your responsibility to your guests. In California, the host is usually not responsible for his/her guests once they leave the party, but they do have a social responsibility to make sure everyone has a safe experience. That said, a host is 100 percent liable for what happens to an underage drinker during and after the event. A host may also be found guilty of a misdemeanor for serving “habitual or common drunkards,”
Here are some excellent suggestions posted by the Insurance Information Institute (www.iii.org) that can help you have a party memorable for the right reasons:
– Hire a professional bartender. Most bartenders are trained to recognize signs of intoxication and are better able to limit consumption by partygoers.
– Encourage guests to pick a designated driver who will refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages in order to be able to drive other guests home.
– Be a responsible host. 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 toward the end of the evening. Switch to coffee, tea and soft drinks.
– If guests drink too much or seem too tired to drive, call a cab, arrange a ride with a sober guest or have them sleep at your home.
It is never a good idea to assume you have insurance coverage, then find out you don’t after the fact. Talk with your insurance professional to see if there is anything you are lacking.