Do you know what could happen when your guests drink and then drive? If you don’t know, you could be in for an unwelcome surprise this holiday season. Before you pop the cork on that bottle of New Years champagne, make sure you are aware of your responsibilities as a host. After all, you could face legal and financial consequences if a guest in your home leaves while obviously intoxicated.
Stay Safe While Serving Alcohol in Your Home or Office
Homeowners and business owners who serve alcohol in a social setting, such as a holiday party, can be held liable for the injury or death of their guests if they are involved in a drunk driving accident. Take steps to protect yourself by encouraging your guests to designate a driver before arriving or otherwise call a taxi service to take them home at the end of the evening.
It is equally important that you – the host – limit your own alcohol intake so that you can help determine the sobriety of your guests before they leave. The amount of alcohol it takes to impair one’s judgment varies from person to person according to their weight, size, and individual tolerance. For example, it can take as little as a single glass of wine to cause a woman to become impaired or as little as two beers for some men.
You can also take steps to help prevent intoxication by offering alternatives to your guests. For example, if you spike the eggnog, consider providing some hot, non-alcoholic cider or cocoa as well. Another tip is serving plenty of food for your guests to fill up on during the party. A full stomach helps delay the rate of alcohol absorption within the body. This can lead to as much as a 20 percent reduction in peak blood alcohol levels.
Put a Halt to Underage Drinking
It is illegal for those under the age of 21 to consume alcohol in Wisconsin. You probably already know that serving alcohol to a minor could land you in jail, but did you know that you could be held criminally liable for all underage drinking on your property – even if you are not present when it happens? While it may be hard to believe, you can even be sued in a civil court for negligence, even if there were no injuries or losses as a result of the consumption.
Be proactive; remove all alcohol from your home if you plan to leave your children home alone for any length of time. You can also ask neighbors to check in from time to time to ensure there are no wild parties or illegal behaviors taking place.
Review Your Homeowners Liability and EPLI
Your homeowners insurance and EPLI (employment practices liability insurance) coverage are designed to be a safety net that provides you with coverage when life gets out of hand. Even if you do everything ‘right’, it is still possible to fall victim to social drinking liability pitfalls. Before you open your door to guests, take the time to review the statutes of your homeowners liability and EPLI policy to ensure you are protected this season. A personal or commercial umbrella may also prove to be prudent to carry.
If you live in or around the Appleton and Kimberly, Wisconsin areas and need assistance in identifying coverage gaps or finding a policy that fits your needs, contact us here at Thiel Insurance Group. We can provide you with a no-obligation review of your homeowners liability or