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Goldstein and Bashner

Hosting a Super Bowl Party? Have Fun but be Responsible

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The Super Bowl is arguably the biggest annual sporting event in the U.S. every year. With a rich and long history — attending or hosting a Super Bowl party has become a tradition for many Americans. Throughout the United States, Super Bowl parties will be held in bars, on college campuses, at various public facilities, and in private homes. There's plenty of fun to be had, but you'll want to know how you may be liable for injuries to make sure the fun doesn't get too out of hand and turn dangerous. While the event is sure to be one that brings friends and family together across Long Island and the rest of the country, it may also create certain risks.

Ensuring the Safety of Your Guests or Customers

Ensuring guests’ safety at the party and on the road afterward is important. By monitoring guests’ alcohol consumption and making sure plans are in place for guests getting home safely after the game. If alcohol is served at a Super Bowl party to guests, it can create the danger of guests driving away while intoxicated and causing drunk driving accidents, something no one wants. Absolutely never serve underage guests, as this is a direct violation of New York's social host laws.

What are Dram and Social Host Laws?

Super Bowl PartyNew York’s dram shop laws provide that, under certain circumstances, alcohol vendors (such as bars, restaurants and stores) can be held legally responsible for a crash caused by a drunk driver. Proving dram shop liability generally requires evidence showing that the drunk driver was visibly intoxicated at the time the alcohol was purchased. Different people show signs of intoxication in different ways, and the help of a personal injury attorney is typically necessary to prove that an alcohol purchaser was visibly intoxicated.

It may also be possible to hold a “social host” responsible for a car accident caused by a driver who was furnished with alcohol by the host of a party or other social event. Both Nassau and Suffolk Counties have social host laws that make it a crime to permit minors to drink alcohol in your house. Serving minors is unsafe for many reasons—teens who drink are a danger to themselves, to their friends and to others on the road, should they choose to drive. Driving isn't the only danger—teens who have been drinking are more likely to be assaulted, drown or fall, or injure themselves in some other way. New Jersey's social host laws are not limited to minors. The statute holds social hosts liable for third-party injuries caused by a guest who is "visibly intoxicated" where "the injuries are the result of negligent operation of a vehicle by the guest." New Jersey courts have held that "provide" includes self-service by guests. However, social hosts are not liable for injuries sustained by the guest (only the third party).

Precautions to Take as the Party Host

  • Limit the amount of alcohol you serve. By only having a small amount of alcohol available, it will be more difficult for guests to become intoxicated;
  • Stop serving alcohol beverages at some point during the game, such as at the beginning of the 3rd quarter, so guests have plenty of time to get sober.
  • Offer a guest room or couch for intoxicated guests if the individual is too drunk to drive home.
  • Offer non-alcoholic beverages to your guests.
  • Take your guests’ keys when they arrive at a house party and only return if they are not intoxicated.
  • Offer to call a taxi to take intoxicated guests home and allow them to pick up their cars the next day.

Unfortunately, not all Super Bowl party hosts, including individuals, bars and restaurants, are always responsible. They fail to take their duties seriously and allow intoxicated guests, which they have served, to get on the road after the game ends. As a result, drunk driving accidents can easily happen.

How We Can Help If You Were Injured By a Drunk Driver

If you have been injured by a drunk driver or lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident, you will want an attorney by your side to hold all at-fault parties responsible for the harm you have suffered, including a negligent host. Social host laws and Dram laws vary by state, but we can go over which would apply to your situation. Call us today for a free consultation at 516-222-4000.

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