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Preparing to Host a Holiday Party? Make Sure Your House is Hazard-Free to Avoid Being Sued for Premises Liability

On behalf of Dan Doyle Law Group posted in Premises Liability on Saturday, January 05, 2019.
slip and fall accident lawyer

If you are planning to host a holiday party on Christmas or New Year’s Eve, you have come to the right place, because our Philadelphia premises liability attorney from Dan Doyle Law Group is going to educate you on potential risks and liability for guests’ injuries occurring at your hosted party.

As long as you do whatever you can to eliminate hazards and exercise a reasonable standard of care at your hosted party, you can avoid being sued for premises liability. We asked our premises liability lawyer Philadelphia to outline what you need to fix in your house before the holiday party and how you will have to behave at the party to ensure everyone’s safety.

Slip and fall hazards

Christmas and New Year’s Eve are practically synonymous with holiday parties and family gatherings. It’s the time of year associated with cold weather as well as sleet and ice on walkways, driveways, and sidewalks.

But even if you thoroughly clean your doorstep and walkways to eliminate some of the biggest hazards during the holiday season, you are not out of the woods just yet. There are plenty of slip and fall and trip and fall hazards inside your house, and you better eliminate those hazards before the holiday party, because exposing drunk people to those hazards is a disaster waiting to happen. Speaking of drunk people…

Alcoholic beverages and Dram Shop Liability

A large percentage of injuries at holiday parties occur due to alcohol. In theory, those alcohol-induced accidents can be prevented by the host of the holiday party (for example, by not serving any alcoholic beverages or keeping guests’ alcohol consumption to a very minimum).

But can hosts of holiday parties be held liable for injuries caused by or to intoxicated people at their parties? That is the question we asked our Philadelphia premises liability lawyer. Pennsylvania’s Dram Shop Act (or, in other words, the law covering alcohol-related liability) limits liability to only those who serve alcohol for money unless the person being served is under 21.

So as long as you do not charge your guests at the holiday party for alcoholic beverages and as long as you are not serving persons under 21, you are out of legal trouble. However, Pennsylvania courts leave plenty of “wiggle room” when assigning liability in situations when hosts of holiday parties (social or business hosts) serve a visibly intoxicated person despite having a reasonable knowledge that the person will be driving or engaging in any other risky or dangerous activity.

Typically, however, hosts of holiday parties are not held liable under Pennsylvania’s Dram Shop Act for serving alcohol to individuals 21 years of age or older.

Other hazards at a holiday party that expose you to premises liability

Slip and trip and fall hazards are not the only unsafe conditions you must watch out for at your holiday party. Your guests can also get hurt at your hosted party due to:

  • Food poisoning;
  • Fires and burns;
  • Electrocutions;
  • Chocking and suffocating;
  • Assaults and sexual assaults;
  • Firearms improperly stored or locked up; and
  • Dog bites.

As you can see, there can be plenty of hazards at your holiday party on Christmas or New Year’s Eve, and it is your obligation to eliminate those hazards before your first guest arrives at the party. After all, you wouldn’t want your guests to file premises liability lawsuits against you, would you? Speak to our experienced premises liability attorney in Philadelphia at Dan Doyle Law Group to make sure that your home is hazard-free before the holiday party. Schedule a free consultation by calling at 215-987-3730 today.

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