The late fall and winter holidays of Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve and Day are popular times throughout the country for parties and other gatherings with neighbors, friends, and relatives. The Super Bowl and other bowl games can attract equally enthusiastic crowds and, perhaps, even more exuberant celebration. Many who host a holiday or other party in their homes invest considerable energy to guest lists, menus, house-cleaning, and decorations while giving little or no thought to the potential for guest injury and a host’s resultant liability. Yet, hosts can be held legally responsible for injuries caused to guests by a host’s negligence, dangerous conditions on a host’s property, and other actionable behavior. Understanding the ways in which a guest may be injured and the liability that may be imposed upon a host can help you better protect your guests as well as yourself.
If you have been injured or one of your family members has been killed while (or in some cases, after) attending a party or other gathering at someone’s home or at another location, you may be entitled to compensation for the damages you have suffered as a result of your injury or loved one’s death. The Killino Firm’s team of accident, personal injury, and wrongful death lawyers have extensive experience with accident and personal injury cases, including those arising out of injuries and deaths caused by host negligence. Contact The Killino Firm for expert assistance with your guest-injury case.
Legal Responsibility for Guests’ Injuries or Deaths
Party hosts may generally be found liable for injuries to guests caused by dangerous conditions on a host’s premises or injuries caused by a host’s negligence. In some states, party hosts may also be found liable for guests’ injuries or deaths caused by an over-consumption of alcohol. In other states, however, hosts are exempt from liability for injuries caused by hosts’ serving of alcohol.
Injuries Caused by Alcohol Consumption
A guest’s alcohol consumption may result in injury to the guest while the guest is on a host’s premises or after the guest leaves. A guest’s over-consumption of alcohol can also result in injury to someone other than the guest. In certain states, a party host may be held legally responsible for injuries to a guest or others as a result of a guest’s alcohol consumption while on the host’s premises.
If a party host offers alcohol to guests and takes no measures to limit a guest’s consumption, the host may be found to have negligently caused injuries sustained by the guest and/or others that are determined to have resulted from the guest’s alcohol-affected behavior. If, for example, an inebriated guest gets into a physical fight with another guest and injures the other guest, the host may be held liable for the other guest’s resulting injuries if the host’s provision of alcohol is found to have been a cause of the fight-inciting guest’s inebriation and resultant behavior. A guest’s falling injury may also result in a host’s liability if the fall (on or off the host’s premises) is found to have been caused by the host’s provision of alcohol and the guest’s resultant inebriation. Hosts may also be found liable for injuries or deaths caused to guests or others as a result of traffic accidents caused by a guest’s over-consumption of alcohol at the host’s gathering.
In some cases, a host may be found liable for injuries and deaths caused by a guest’s alcohol consumption even if the host did not offer the alcohol but had alcohol on the premises, knew the guest was drinking it, and took no measures to prevent the guest’s over-consumption. Hosts in these situations and more may be found to have negligently caused a guest’s or other’s injury or death by failing to take active steps to prevent a guest’s inebriation. Such steps can include cutting off a guest’s consumption, removing alcohol from a guest’s access, taking car keys away from a drunken guest, or offering to drive a drunken guest home.
Injuries Caused by Dangerous Conditions on a Host’s Premises
Hosts may also be found liable for injuries sustained by guests while on the host’s premises as a result of dangerous conditions on the premises. Guests are generally considered “invitees” under premises liability law, which requires a host or landowner to exercise reasonable care to protect the guest from dangerous conditions on the premises of which the owner is aware. Poorly lighted walkways with uneven pavement, for example, may result in a host’s liability for injuries sustained by a guest as a result of tripping or falling on the walkway. The serving of adulterated or spoiled food may also result in a host’s liability for illness or other injury to a guest sustained as a result of the food’s ingestion. Staircases without railings, broken steps, and house fires caused by a host’s negligent tending of a fireplace blaze may all result in a guest’s injury or death and the liability of the responsible host. Allowing guests onto a porch that a host knows or reasonably should have known to be structurally unsafe may also result in a host’s liability for injuries or deaths caused to guests by the porch’s collapse.
Obtain Expert Assistance from The Killino Firm, P.C.
The Killino Firm’s injury and premises liability attorneys have extensive experience with a wide variety of accident and negligence cases, including those involving injuries and deaths caused to guests by hosts’ negligence. If you or one of your family members has been injured or killed as a result of a host’s negligence, The Killino Firm will fight for the compensation to which you and your family are entitled for your injuries or loved one’s death.