The holiday season is an enjoyable occasion that many people spend appreciating their family, friends, and co-workers. They take the time to reminisce and catch up on the happy, sad, and memorable details of their day-to-day lives.
During all the festivities, within many households and at corporate offices, many people partake in spirits and other alcoholic beverages. May people enjoy a beer while getting together with family and co-workers. But a problem comes into play when your friend, family member, or co-worker gets behind the wheel and drives after drinking alcohol.
In 2013, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that out of the 32,719 motor vehicle fatalities 10,076 were the result of alcohol-impaired driving. Within Kansas, we had 350 alcohol-impaired-fatalities in 2013. Out of the major holidays, Thanksgiving, New Year’s, and Christmas Day are ranked in the top six most dangerous holidays when it comes to alcohol-related fatalities, by a study conducted by the National Safety Council.
This year our staff at Integrity Insurance Agency wants to help you protect yourself from potential alcohol-related risks so that your loved ones remain safe, and you don’t have to face a lawsuit after the holidays end.
Understanding Alcohol-Related Risks During the Holidays
If you are like many people, you look forward to hosting the holiday party at your house. These events can be an opportunity for you to indulge a bit and have some fun. You have no worries about your children as they are safe at the sitter’s. However, you do have to worry about social host responsibility.
In Kansas, social host responsibility extends responsible driving beyond an individual who has consumed alcohol. Typically, party hosts may be liable if a person attending their party gets in an accident after leaving the party. The victim of the car wreck and possibly their passengers may have the right to sue the host for not being socially responsible.
Corporate parties present an interesting challenge for employers as well. Although a company-sponsored party may happen after hours, as the employer, you may still be responsible for employee infractions while they are at the holiday party. Spirits often loosen employees up, which opens the door for them to say and do things at a company party that they wouldn’t do if they were at work. One infraction that often rears its ugly head at office parties is harassment.
Ways to Protect Yourself from Liability Exposure
Knowing potential liability risks is the beginning of protecting your interests. Whether you are an employer or the host of a holiday party, we want you to protect yourself from liability. The following are some measures you can take to prevent exposure to both social host liabilities and employer practice liabilities.
- Limit drinking at your party. Although you are serving alcohol, you can do it responsibly. Set a limit for everyone at the party and enforce it so that everyone can drink responsibly.
- Designate a driver before the party. Establishing a designated driver at the beginning of the party will allow your guests to know where they can turn to if they feel like they’ve drunk too much.
- Hire a bartender. Bartenders are experts at recognizing when someone has had too much to drink. With a bartending controlling the alcohol, you run less risk of a party guest overindulging in alcohol.
- Serve food loaded with fiber. Eating high-fiber foods while you are drinking will prevent alcohol from having a significant effect on your well-being. Foods high in fiber help you maintain your blood sugar and replenish your vitamin B levels.
- Purchase insurance. Both employer practice liability insurance (EPLI) and homeowners liability insurance may help you cover your liability expenses if you are sued. At Integrity Insurance Agency, we are more than happy to help you identify insurance coverage that will help you mitigate your financial risks when it comes to social host responsibility and employer practice liability laws.
Avoiding Other Risky Behaviors during the Holidays
Accidents and harassment issues aren’t the only problems that stem from an overindulgence of alcohol at holiday parties. Friends and co-workers can also get into heated arguments under the influence of alcohol. As a result of this, working relationships and friendships can be severed simply because your guests overindulged. By acting as a responsible host and discouraging the overconsumption of alcohol, you can keep lifelong friendships intact.
Lifetips estimates that an alcohol-related accident happens every two minutes, throughout the year. During the holidays, you are at increased risk of experiencing an alcohol-related accident. With more people driving and drinking during the holiday, as the host of a party, you can significantly decrease your liability exposure by being a responsible host during a holiday party.