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Hosting a Safe Holiday Party in Alabama

Dec 19, 2012 - Personal Injury by

The holiday season is a time for hosting parties and inviting guests into your home. When you have people over, you want to make sure that they have a good time and enjoy the celebration. However, you also have a more important responsibility — making sure that your guests are safe and that they do not present a danger to themselves or to others.

Our injury attorneys in Tuscaloosa want to remind hosts and hostesses of their obligations when they invite guests into their home this holiday season. We also have some tips for those hosting parties to help ensure that the guests are safe and that the host doesn’t become legally liable for injury.1337577_wine_swirl

Your Obligation To Your Guests
When you invite people to your home for the holidays, you have an obligation to make sure that your house is reasonably safe. You should correct any hidden dangers or hazards that exist on the premises, or in the alternative, warn your guests of any hidden dangers or hazards.

This means if you have a sidewalk that is prone to getting slippery; a loose or wiggly railing; broken steps or any other potential hazards in your home, you may want to fix them before inviting guests. If there are things you can’t fix, let your guests know of the problem so they aren’t in danger of hurting themselves while visiting.

Drinking and Driving and Holiday Parties
When you have guests over and are serving alcohol, it is also important that you use common sense and don’t set up a situation where people might be likely to drink and drive. This is important not just because stopping drunk drivers can save lives, but also because the host of a party could become responsible for the injuries caused by drunk drivers in certain limited cases.

Alabama has both dram shop laws and social host laws in place that hold individuals responsible for serving alcohol when they shouldn’t. Dram shop laws apply to places that sell alcohol, like bars or clubs, and not typically to a homeowner having a holiday party.

Social host laws, however, can make a person throwing a party responsible for serving alcohol to minors. This means if you have any underage guests in your home, it is very important that you refrain from serving them any alcohol — especially if they are going to drive. If your teen is having a party and having friends over, then it is even more important to monitor what is going on, to make sure no one drinks and to make sure that no alcohol is accessible.

Tips for a Safe Party Season
So, how do you make sure your home is safe for guests and that your friends don’t drink and drive? Some tips include:

  • Do a brief inspection of each of the rooms in your home and the outside to see if anything is broken or dangerous.
  • Limit the amount of alcohol that you serve. If you plan to serve a lot, ask who the designated driver for each invited group is.
  • Take people’s keys and call a cab or provide a ride home if you suspect someone has had too much to drink.
  • Never let your teen have parties unattended and when underage guests come over, make sure the alcohol is safely out of their reach.

By following these tips, you can have a fun holiday season and a safe one as well.

Additional Resources:

Birmingham Teens at High Risk of Winter Traffic Crashes, Alabama Injury Attorneys Blog, December 4, 2012

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