Social Host Liability and Holiday Saftey: 4 Important Reminders

During the holidays, parties and gatherings with friends, co-workers and family abound. Travel, whether out of town to see relatives or just down the street to a neighbor’s house, is a big part of the holiday season. When alcohol is involved, as it often is this time of year, keeping in mind both the safety of yourself and others when traveling or hosting is especially important. It is equally important to know the law and keep safe.

Vendors and social hosts, those selling or providing alcohol, can be held liable for the actions of those they serve. Someone who throws a holiday get together and provides drinks for their guests would be considered a social host. According to the Code of Alabama Section 6-5-71 any person harmed by the actions of an intoxicated person “shall have a right of action against any person who shall, by selling, giving, or otherwise disposing of to another, contrary to the provisions of law, any liquors or beverages, cause the intoxication of such person for all damages actually sustained, as well as exemplary damages.” The key phrase here is “contrary to provisions of law;” hosts are not to serve those who are clearly intoxicated and, of course, those under the age of 21. If a host has followed these and other guidelines, then she is more than likely not liable.

With that in mind, here are four important things to remember when hosting or attending a holiday party:

1. Have a designated driver.

2. Know your own limits.

3. Don’t be afraid to cut off inebriated guests. Better safe than sorry when providing alcohol to intoxicated individuals, as you are looking out for the wellbeing of that person, those they may interact with, and even yourself.

4. Don’t serve alcohol to those under the age of 21. You’re liable for what they do while intoxicated.

The holidays usually provide many opportunities to celebrate with the ones we love. While having fun, drink responsibly and remember to keep safety and the law in mind.

Happy Holidays!

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