The holidays are a time when we love to gather with our loved ones and host parties so we can spend time with those who mean the most to us. Usually, part of celebrating over the holidays is enjoying a few alcoholic drinks. However, if you’re serving your guests alcohol at any party you’re hosting, you need to be aware of host liability and what it means for you and your guests.
Host Liability Law
Currently, there isn’t any Canadian law that gives specific details about a party host’s responsibilities. However, the province of Ontario does have laws in place.
In previous case law, it has been determined that hosts are responsible for reasonable foreseeability in Ontario.
So, what does that mean? For hosts, if they serve guests alcohol and can see the guest has had too much and should not be driving, the host needs to make sure the guest does not drive home.
What kinds of liability can a host be responsible for?
It’s important to keep in mind that hosts have three different kinds of liability when it comes to their guests consuming alcohol at their home.
Hosts are responsible for knowing when their guests are at, or nearing, the point of intoxication and cut off serving them accordingly. If the host knowingly keeps serving someone alcohol after they are drunk, the host could be held liable for their guest’s actions if they drive home.
Liability for Sponsoring Potentially Dangerous Activities
This means, even if the host didn’t serve guests the alcohol, the host is responsible for stopping them from participating in any drunken and potentially dangerous behaviour – including driving home.
Homeowners or primary renters are entirely responsible for what happens on their property. Whether physical damage or personal injuries, they will be responsible for whatever happens.
So, how do you keep everyone safe this holiday season?
If you know you’re going to be hosting a party for your loved ones, it’s important you plan ahead for those who wish to drink. If your home has the space, you can offer your guests to spend the night, so no one needs to drive. Additionally, you can arrange for a few people who are coming to your party not to drink that evening (designated drivers) so that they can ensure everyone gets home safe.
Or, if you have the option, you can contact a service in your city that will drive your guests home with their cars so that they get home safe. With a bit of pre-planning, everyone at your party can have a great time while making sure no one gets hurt.
Never drink and drive. While hosts can potentially be liable for injury for their guests during and after the party, drunk driving can result in criminal charges and can be the cause of a serious accident. If you intend on drinking, never get behind the wheel of a car – phone a friend, call a cab or uber, or stay at the host’s house.
Let’s make sure all of us get to enjoy this holiday season, and we all get home safely to our families. It’s ok to enjoy a few drinks, but please make sure to take the proper precautions so that everyone gets home safe.
Contact Hoffman Law today
If you have been injured due to the actions or negligence of a party host or irresponsible driver – we are here to help. Contact us today to speak with one of our lawyers.