Social Host Liability Laws to Remember For Holiday Party Planning

‘Tis the season — for holiday parties! With the holiday season upon us, everyone should be aware that the host has specific responsibilities to keep everyone safe when alcohol is served. “Social host liability” laws refer to party hosts being legally responsible for the ensuing actions of intoxicated guests. In 43 states, hosts of a party can be held legally responsible for the personal injuries and property damage caused by overserved guests. In some cases, the party host can also face criminal charges. While states vary on how they approach social host liability, one of these three broad categories applies:

Laws Holding Hosts Liable

While the precise circumstances that determine when hosts are liable vary, New Jersey law allows the victim of a DUI accident to sue and recover damages from a social host when:

Being a Responsible Host

If you plan to serve alcohol at any party, it is important to take steps to limit your personal liability as a host and make sure you are covered with the proper insurance. Before planning a party in your home, it is important to speak with your insurance agent about your homeowners coverage and any exclusions, conditions, or limitations your policy might have for this kind of risk. Homeowners insurance usually provides liability coverage for personal injuries or property damage claims, though coverage is typically limited and may be insufficient. To protect yourself and your guests, the Insurance Information Institute offers these suggestions to promote safe alcohol consumption and reduce your social host liability exposure: