Hosting a Party? Protect Yourself from Liability by Being a Responsible Host


May it be because of the holiday season or an important occasion as to why a joyous celebration should be held. People always take the time to make these events to spend time and money to appreciate their family, friends, or co-workers. However, just like any other activities, there would always be risk and consequences.

During the festivity, many people will surely partake in spirits and on any other alcoholic beverages. And with some booze and fun, comes the risk of making the alcohol reach your brain, making one be impaired of proper thinking and motor skills. Problems can come into play then, especially if incidents occur.

So, where do you fit in the scenario and what are your responsibilities as the host of the party? Know here as we talk about social host liability and how to protect yourself from it.

What is Social Host Responsibility

Generally speaking, social host responsibility extends to the responsible driving beyond an individual who has consumed alcoholic beverages. Party hosts may be held liable if the individual who has attended their party gets into an accident after leaving the said event. Victim/s of this accident may have the right to sue the host for not being socially responsible.

Additionally, this does not only apply to homeowners, but this can also be applied to corporate parties. Although one may say that the party was held after working hours, as an employer, you may still be held responsible for employee infractions that may happen during the party. Since liquors often loosen up employees, they tend to do things that they normally wouldn’t do, and one of the common ugly infraction of this doing is harassment.

Who Can Be Held Liable?

As what was stated beforehand, one of the few examples is homeowners and employers. However, the scope of social host responsibility is not limited to that. Although it may usually apply equally to homeowners, property renters, anyone else who provides alcohol to a guest that has, later on, was in an accident or incident is held liable.

Another common social host responsibility is giving out alcoholic beverages to someone under the legal drinking age, which is 21 years of age. Keep in mind that this is what most of the states impose on as a law under the social host liability laws.

Who Can Sue Under This Law?

After knowing who is responsible for this law, let’s talk about who can use this as a way to sue someone out of neglect. But before that, just a reminder, not all states have this kind of law, so if you find yourself in a situation wherein a host could be held liable, check it out with a local lawyer, or Matthew Gould instead, for consultation about this social host liability law.

Technically, anyone that had an accident or has been injured by an intoxicated guest can bring a personal injury claim under this kind of law. Moreover, there are two types of social host liability cases which are called as first party and third party accordingly.

First Party Social Host Liability

The first party social host liability case is about when the injured plaintiff is the individual who was given the alcoholic beverages. Many states don’t allow this type of social host liability case unless the individual is a minor.

Third Party Social Host Liability

The third-party social host liability case is when the injured person is an individual other than the drunk person. For instance, if the person was hit by a drunk driver and the drunk driver got drunk at a party, the host will be potentially held liable as a third-party social host liability. However, one still needs to check the status of the law in your state to make sure.

How Can You Protect Yourself as the Host?

Knowing the potential risks is your stepping stone of protecting your interests, and being knowledgeable about the law will also help you out in defending yourself from future liability exposure. Thus, here are some of the following measures you can take to prevent exposure.

Limit Alcohol Consumption

Limiting the serving of alcoholic beverages is the best action you can take. Set a limit of alcohol consumption and enforce it so that everyone will drink responsibly.

Hire a Bartender

Bartenders can help you in enforcing the limit of alcohol intake. Moreover, they are experts at recognizing an individual who’s already intoxicated so they can stop the individual to overindulge with the drinks.

Designate a Driver

Designating a driver at the beginning of the part will allow your guests to know where they can ask for help to drive them home when they feel like they’ve drunk too much.


Parties do not need to turn into liability nightmare if you’ll take proper precaution and know the responsibilities that you need to take into consideration. You may want to consider hiring  event organizers to lessen your burdens and enjoy the party more. However, one does not have complete control over everything, thus make sure you have someone to turn to in case of liability cases such as Matthew Gould, a criminal defense trial lawyer which could surely help you out.