Weddings, Graduation Parties, and other Special Events

Host Liquor Liability

With Spring offically here, we can expect a collection of graduation parties, showers, and weddings over the course of the next few months. And with so many details to take care of with the decorations, food, and the rest of the planning, it takes a lot of organizing to ensure everything runs smoothly. But one major detail that hosts do not want to overlook in the planning process is how their liability comes into play once the party begins.

Host liquor liability, by definition, is “a social host’s liability to a person injured or property damaged by an intoxicated guest’s negligent operation of a motor vehicle or watercraft where a social host who knew or should have known that his or her guest was intoxicated and nevertheless gave them or permitted them to consume an alcoholic drink and thereafter, because of his or her intoxication, the guest negligently operated a motor vehicle or watercraft causing “bodily injury” or “property damage”.

Let’s look at an example…

It’s your daughter’s college graduation party, and a lot of people are over at your house celebrating this huge milestone in her life. Besides being a special day for your daughter, there are other things you (as the host) have to worry about like getting the appetizers  on the table and socializing with the guests. The party lasts into the night, but one of her friends decides to leave the party early when no one has questioned or verified whether it was safe for him to drive.  On the way home he loses control of his vehicle, and ends up crashing into another vehicle injuring the occupants. They can come back to you at that point and sue you for letting him leave the premise after consuming too much alcohol.

Many companies in Massachusetts will provide host liquor liability when the homeowner’s policy is a HO-91 form, and will then provide liability for any negligent supervision of a guest. The only exclusion on the HO-91 is for the use of a motor vehicle by an insured or other members of the household.  But certain carriers using an HO-2000 & HO-2011 form many not provide host liquor liability at all. Bodily Injury or Property Damage claims that arise out of the use of a motor vehicle would be excluded in this case, no matter WHO is in the vehicle.

Simply put, the host is responsible for everyone who attends the party. If someone has too much to drink and leaves the premises, either injuring someone else or the property of someone else, they could be legally liable for his or her actions. It’s important to be aware of this when making party plans and taking precautions for safety. Everyone has people over during the summer time, and you may not realize just what you are liable for in these circumstances.

That’s where we step in. At Quincy Insurance Agency we can discuss your situation, and let you know whether you have the coverage, or help design the tailored, personal Massachusetts insurance coverage needed to protect your liability. We aim to give you a peace of mind this Spring season should you be throwing any kind of celebration at your home. Please give us a call today at 781-431-9600.

May 7th, 2013 by Quincy Insurance Agency LLC