Summer is a great time for parties, but many hosts don’t realize how much risk they take on when they serve food and alcohol. At graduation parties, cocktail parties, and even birthday parties, be sure to protect yourself and your guests from harm or lawsuit.
Before you serve food or alcohol, be sure that your homeowner’s or renter’s policy protects you if you are held liable for someone’s food poisoning or drunk driving after a party at your home.
Your first line of defense is being careful what you provide for others to eat and drink. Be sure to get your food from trusted providers. Even if food is prepared by a store or caterer outside your home, you can still be held liable for serving it. Don’t put anything out that you are suspicious of. Be sure that all food is cooked thoroughly and properly. If not, throw it out. Better to waste 5 dollars than face a lawsuit.
Stop serving alcohol at least an hour before the party is set to end. This gives people a chance to sober and also gives you the chance to assess the situation. If someone is too intoxicated to transport themselves home safely, provide them with a place to stay for the night or call a cab for them. This extra step can protect you from a lot of stress and headaches later. You can also ask someone at the party to be a designated driver in the event that someone cannot transport themselves home.
Provide many alternatives to alcohol, and alternative activities to drinking. A fun game or activity will take the focus off of consuming alcohol and make the party less stressful and less risky for you.
Another alternative is holding the party somewhere other than your home. If you hold your party in a bar or restaurant with a liquor license, that takes the liability off of your shoulders.