In 39 states, social hosts who serve alcoholic beverages can be held liable for an injury or death caused by a guest who is subsequently involved in an alcohol-related auto accident. Such social host liability laws and judicial rulings extend to commercial alcohol servers, as well.
If you are planning to host a Super Bowl party at your home, the I.I.I. suggests the following:
- Make sure you understand your state laws. Familiarize yourself with your state’s social host liability laws.
- Speak with an insurance professional about your homeowners coverage. Homeowners insurance usually provides some liquor liability coverage, but it is typically limited to $100,000 or $300,000—which might not be enough.
- Hire a professional bartender. Most bartenders are trained to recognize signs of intoxication and are better able to limit consumption by party goers.
- 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.
- Encourage all your guests to wear seatbelts. Studies show that seatbelts save lives.
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