It’s the Holiday Season and you’ll be having friends, acquaintances, colleagues and family over for some festivities.  Wonderful!  Often adult beverages are part of the celebrating.  Some people tend to overindulge…do you need to factor this into your plans?  People come to your home to enjoy a meal and some toasts to friendship, so you share a drink or two.  But there’s that one person that likes to overindulge and is ready to drive himself home (says he's fine to drive).  He gets behind the wheel of his car and causes damage to someone else’s property as a result of the intoxication.  Thankfully, only property was involved.  What is your obligation in the situation?


 Inebriation can be deadly.  In some cases, you (the host providing alcohol may be held responsible for the losses at some level.  Here some thoughts for you before you hold your next party with alcohol involved.


Whether you can be liable for the actions of another person in a situation like this depends on the state in which you live.  If you throw a party and someone becomes intoxicated, whether you have any responsibility for their actions falls under the state’s laws based on at-fault negligence.  Key words you could search to check your state’s regulations are: “social host liability in Kansas” or “dram shop liability in Kansas.”  Of course you’d enter your state’s name.  These types of  laws give a person injured by your drunk driver the right to sue you.  Whether it’s in civil or criminal court also varies by state and circumstances.


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To give it some perspective, it’s comparable to the way a bar may have some liability if a patron drinks too much.  If they let someone drink too much and then he/she gets behind the wheel to drive, it is very likely the bar itself could have some responsibility in the losses.  The same could apply in a personal home but not for all states.  In some states, the intoxicated individual is solely responsible for his or her actions.  In other states, your negligence only applies if the individual’s intoxication is very much evident and you continue to provide alcohol to them (or allow them to leave). 


If a person is in an accident related to their intoxication from your party, you could be liable for the losses.  Your home insurance may offer some protection to cover these losses.  It would fall under your home insurance’s liability coverage.  In this situation, the person suffering damage would file a claim under your policy.  He or she would typically have to prove that you were negligent, however which likely means showing you knew the risks were present and did not act to prevent the outcome (often an investigation would be in order).


If you are hosting a party of any type, it is important to monitor how much people drink.  Intoxication can be life-threatening to that individual and anyone he or she shares the road with on the way home.  You do not want anyone to get hurt or to be in any way responsible for the losses.  So if alcohol is being served to your party guests at your home, it goes without saying that you want to ensure there are enough designated drivers, taxis, or sleeping bags for those who indulge.  Have the numbers for various taxi services or transportation network apps ready.  You should also limit your own drinking to be better able to be aware of your guests.  Make sure to offer food/snacks, plus water and other non-alcoholic options.  The alcohol could be cut off at a certain time with a coffee and cookie time to end the evening.


Having said all this, tis the season for celebrations…just be responsible as you enjoy!  We wish everyone a beautiful, safe and joyous Holiday season.


Contact Solo Insurance® for more information about car insurance savings or to get a quote.


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