Hosts are magnets with regard to party consequences. Hosts are given the credit for the enjoyment that their guests experience at a party. On the dark side, party-givers are also asked to bear partial or full responsibility for guests who cause damage or injury on the way home from a gathering. In other words, they may be sued for contributing to losses caused by alcohol-impaired guests.
Although hosts are often found legally culpable for accidents; the brunt of responsibility has to be faced by the individuals who directly cause a loss. There would have to be strong evidence to support a host being held financially responsible, since any involvement is indirect. For example, Jane provides drinks to Barrie, who then plows into the side of Chris’ car and garage.
While a homeowners policy may offer coverage if a host has substantially contributed to a loss, an insurer may be able to deny a claim for a number of reasons, including:
- A gathering involves the host making an income
- The involvement of paid bartenders
- The party is thrown as a fundraising event
- A host’s knowledge that the guest was impaired and continued to serve liquor
- The host failed to make arrangements for impaired guests (designated drivers, taxis, lodging, etc.)
- Local or state law(s) related to providing alcohol