Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Summer Parties: How To Avoid Lawsuits

Summer Parties, Graduation Parties, Pool Parties, Cookouts, July 4th bashes, and Labor Day Parties are all good reasons to gather friends and families at your home and have fun. But behind the fun lurks the possibility of guest injuries that could ruin the party and ruin your finances.

So, here are some tips for making sure you are ready for the arrival of the guests.

• Read your homeowners, renters or condominium owners policy many days before the party. Discuss your liability coverage with your agent.

• Few people have liability limits that are high enough, and liability coverage is very inexpensive. Increase your limits to at least $500,000...$1 million is better. Consider buying a Liability Umbrella policy.

• Will you be serving alcoholic beverages at your party? Or, if not, will you allow guest to bring their own booze? Then, I suggest that you make guests hand over their car keys when they arrive.

• Never serve alcohol to a person under the legal drinking age. If you do, and you are sued, your insurance company will probably deny your claim or refuse to defend you.

• Serve lots of food, but not salty snacks. Bars serve free salty snacks because it makes people thirsty.

• Serve non-alcoholic beverages, like exotic punches. You can find no-booze cocktail recipes on line that taste just like the originals.

• Buy a breath alcohol analyzer. You can buy one for about $50 on the Internet. Then, when each person prepares to leave, make them blow in the analyzer. No blow, no keys. Alcohol level too high, no keys. No exceptions.

• Is your guest too drunk to drive home? Either drive them home, make up a cot for them, or call a cab.

• Be sure your home is safe. Fix broken walkways, handrails, etc. Clear away debris, such as leaves and grass clippings. If you have a deck, be sure that the surfaces are smooth and free of slivers. Walk around your home and look for tripping hazards.

• If you have ANY KIND of a backyard pool, be extra careful with who has access to the pool. Drowning is easier than you think. Having a lifeguard for the party is a pretty good idea.

Now that you’ve taken care of all of these tips, have a GREAT party!!

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