Are you planning a hosting a New Years Eve party? What about a family gathering over the Christmas holiday? If you are and there is alcohol involved, you may want to think twice about how much and to whom you plan to serve. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the majority of U.S. states have enacted laws that hold third-parties to higher standards when serving alcohol. Wisconsin holds strict alcohol liability standards that apply not only to businesses but also in social situations. Continue reading to learn more about the ways your holiday party could cost you big.
Known as a ‘dram shop law,’ Wisconsin law allows for homeowners and business owners to be held liable for the injuries or losses to a party-goer in certain limited situations. This can include when a guest consumes a spiked beverage at your party that was represented as alcohol-free, or if an underage person drinks alcohol at your party before causing loss or injury to a third-party.
For example, imagine your 21-year old nephew brings a 20-year old friend home from college to spend the holiday with your family. After breaking out the eggnog at your family party, the 20-year old guest helps himself to several additional glasses without your knowledge. He later gets into his car to drive to the store, only to cause a severe car accident. Any injured third-party in this situation may not only bring negligence and liability charges against the driver but also against you for serving alcohol to an underage person. The civil penalties can add up to tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in court depending on the severity of the accident and injuries. The legal fines can add up as well, considering you may be ticketed and fined for serving alcohol to an underage person.
Another way your holiday party could cost you is through premises liability damages. As safe as you feel your home or business office may be, hidden dangers are often lurking. If a guest attends your party and becomes injured, you could be held liable. The likelihood of an accident occurring is only exacerbated if alcohol is present at the event – even if the guest is age 21 or older.
Let’s say you hold an end-of-the-year party for the employees in your office as a way of showing your appreciation for their hard work. Everyone is allowed to bring a date, making for a festive occasion. Later in the evening, one employee’s spouse slips and falls down the stairwell, landing her in the hospital with serious injuries. A day or two later you are served with a premises liability lawsuit, claiming you are responsible for this third-party’s injuries. The claims add up to tens of thousands of dollars in medical bill payments, lost wages and pain and suffering.
Protect Yourself and Your Business this Holiday Season
Here at Philleo Agency Insurance, we know very well the risks Brookfield area residents and employers face when hosting a holiday party. As fun as they can be, it can also spell disaster for those who are uninsured or underinsured. We offer insurance policies designed to protect home and business owners from civil liability penalties, which could otherwise wipe out a life savings or force a company to shut its doors. If you have not reviewed your homeowners policy or your employment practices liability insurance (EPLI), don’t wait until it is too late. These essential coverages can save you or your business thousands of dollars and mitigate your risk exposure this holiday season.
Call us today for more information or to speak with an agent about EPLI or homeowners liability insurance. We look forward to serving you soon.