Are you liable for the liquor you serve this New Years Eve?

With the coming New Year fast approaching, people are thinking about New Year’s Eve parties. Many of these parties will be in homes with close friends and family. They will serve all the best refreshments, goodies, and of course, liquor.

One very important thing that many people overlook when it comes to serving alcohol at their home to guests is their legal responsibility regarding the inebriation of their guests. You can be held legally liable for the actions of your guests once they leave your premises should someone have any kind of accident resulting from being over-served while on your premises.

The Massachusetts homeowners insurance policies may not cover you in the event of a liquor liability law suit. Insurance carriers use different forms for their homeowners insurance policies. The three most popular Homeowners forms are the HO-91, HO-2000, and HO-2011 forms. Of these three, the HO-91 is the only one who does not specifically exclude liquor liability from the policy. You would need to contact your agency to find out which form your policy is written with and to better learn what coverage you may have in the event of a liability claim.

As with anything in life, the best protection any type of liability claim is prevention. If you are going to have a party and liquor is to be served, collect car keys from all of your guests, put them in a bowl and lock it away. Designate drivers or sobriety testers at the party who will be willing to help you by staying sober. This way they can best judge the sobriety of others who wish to leave the party. Never give someone their car keys to drive home if you know they have been drinking.  It’s always wise to have the phone numbers to friends or family of those who may be intoxicated at your party in order to get them home safely.

We hope you have a safe, fun, and liability-free New Year!