It is that time of year again when it seems there is an event to attend nearly every weekend. Whether it is the end of year office party, your family’s Christmas gathering, New Year’s Eve, or watching the big game with your friends, chances are you will be spending a lot of time at parties. You may even be hosting the party. Playing host is fun for many people, but it comes with a certain level of risk and responsibility. Continue reading to learn our four top tips for limiting the liability of your upcoming party.
Limit Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol is the culprit behind many holiday incidents, whether during a party or after. If you are serving alcohol, you could be responsible for the behaviors of your guests after they leave the event – especially if they are visibly intoxicated or underage. To help lower your risk without eliminating alcohol from your party altogether, we suggest serving non-alcoholic beverages and food alongside the drinks, as well as providing a cash bar rather than an open one. If possible, hire a professional bartender who can detect signs of intoxication and cut-off guests who have had too much. Of course, never serve alcohol to a minor. Not only could you face civil litigation, but you could face criminal charges too.
Edit Your Guest List
The people you invite to your party will set the tone of the gathering. If you know there is ‘bad blood’ between a couple of your friends, think twice before inviting them to your home. If a physical altercation ensues – something more likely to occur when alcohol is involved – another guest could be injured during the fight. If they decide to sue you, a judge may rule in favor of the guest and force you to pay for the medical bills, court costs, lost wages, and more. Of course, you cannot exclude employees from attending an office party, but you can assure them that attendance at the party is optional instead of mandatory. You can also limit any unruly ‘plus-one’ guests from attending.
Look for Potential Hazards
Nearly anything can pose a hazard at a party, so it is impossible to create a perfectly safe environment. You can, however, take steps to prevent certain types of injuries from occurring. If you have a trampoline or a swimming pool, for example, you may want to think twice before letting your guests bring their kids to your gathering. You should also be mindful of aggressive animals, broken steps, broken handrails, and other things that a guest could be unaware of. Slip-and-fall accidents and animal bites can land a guest in the hospital and leave you with the bill.
Review the Employee Handbook
If you are hosting a party for your employees, take proactive steps to prevent problems during the event. Call a meeting to review the expectations of employee conduct, as well as the consequences for breaking the rules. With issues like sexual harassment and the possibility of being fired fresh on the minds of employees, they may be less likely to engage in unprofessional behaviors during the party. If someone were to make crude remarks to another employee, for example, you could be held liable as the employer.
Protect Yourself and Your Business
Even after taking precautions to limit liability during your holiday party, accidents can still happen. Employers and homeowners in Sheboygan and the surrounding areas should be aware of Wisconsin liability laws and how they affect party hosts. It is important to review your homeowners liability and commercial liability insurance to identify any potential gaps in coverage. Call us here at Heinen Insurance to review your policy and determine whether you could need to raise your liability limits or purchase employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) as suggested by the Insurance Information Institute. Our team will work with you to find an affordable policy that fits your needs. We look forward to serving you soon.