Liability for Guests in Your Home

liability-for-guests-in-your-homeWith February upon us, the holiday season is finally over. Hopefully none of your holiday guests sustained injuries in your home, but every year, family and friends suffer minor–and sometimes major–injuries during holiday celebrations. These injuries can be even more serious when alcohol is involved. Whenever you host a party, you must realize that you are liable for your guests. If they suffer any injuries, they might be able to bring a personal injury suit against you, so you must be prepared.

Because you planned the party and invited guests onto your property, courts will hold you to the highest standard of care to keep the property reasonably safe for your holiday visitors. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself from a personal injury suit. You may have been lucky this year, but make sure you take the proper steps before planning next year’s big barn burner.

Accident Proof Your House before Parties

It is important, and just common courtesy, to make sure that your house is safe before inviting guests over. Do you have any loose tiles on the floor that might cause someone to slip? Is your stairwell not well-lit or are the stairs slippery or loose in any way? These are the types of questions you should ask before hosting a party.

Carefully survey your home and identify any potential hazards. You should remove obstructions on the ground that may cause someone to slip or furniture in unexpected places that may cause someone to fall. Also remember to look for sharp edges on tables or furniture that could possibly cause injury. If you have a dog that has bitten visitors in the past, you will probably want to leave him outside. Taking a few precautionary steps can go a long way to preventing a guest’s injuries.

Ease Up on the Alcohol

Holiday parties are supposed to be fun, and alcohol is sometimes a necessary requirement depending on the group of family and friends attending. Still, make sure that things don’t go overboard. Watch how much liquor is being consumed and also pay attention if anyone seems to have had too much. Someone who is heavily inebriated will be more likely to suffer an injury and will be less likely to avoid common household obstacles.

Get Insurance

A good way to protect yourself is to get insurance. Some homeowner’s insurance will already protect you in case a guest is injured, but it is not always included, so you need to check. Medical payments insurance will cover the payments for a guest’s injuries. According to Avvo.com, medical payments insurance usually only covers up to $5,000 in bills, but it will cover any guest regardless of fault. The other insurance you will want is limited personal liability insurance. This will protect you if someone is injured in your home, and it is your fault. Limited personal liability insurance can cover much larger damages, up to $100,000 or even more depending on your provider.

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