The team at James McKiernan Lawyers put together this monthly newsletter to remind family and friends to be safe during this holiday season.
Learn more about shocking holiday driving statistics, safe party tips, and more!
Protect Yourself and Your Party Guests This Holiday Season
Celebrating the spirit of the holidays is more than simply planning the perfect menu and stunning home decor. Thanksgiving to New Year’s can pose a heightened risk for drunk driving crashes following family get-togethers and holiday parties. You may also be held personally responsible if you hosted the festivities and a guest is involved. You should know these commonsense tips for avoiding preventable party mishaps.
Holiday Cheer Turns to Gloom as Drunk Driving Spikes
One too many toasts can prove deadly during the holidays if partygoers choose to drink and drive. The long Thanksgiving weekend vies with Independence Day as the deadliest holiday of the year, propelled by increased alcohol sales and drunk driving. The National Safety Council forecasts as many as 485 people will die in auto accidents during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
Throwing a Festive Fete
Spreading cheer and giving thanks to your loved ones is what the holidays are all about. Keep guests safe with these tips for responsible hosts:
Stay in control: If you choose to serve alcohol at your party, stay within your limits to set an excellent example for guests.
Choose a reliable bartender or hire a professional: Don’t let underage guests drink alcohol. Consider putting away alcohol 90 minutes before the end of your party. Offer non-alcoholic beverages in addition to other drinks.
Watch your guests: Arrange rides for any guests who appear to be intoxicated. If they insist on leaving, take their keys and ask a sober guest for help getting them home.
Provide snacks: Food can slow the absorption of alcohol and reduce the peak level of alcohol in the body by about one-third.
Do not pressure guests to drink: Social pressures can be overwhelming. Your guests should feel comfortable not drinking. And never serve alcohol to guests who are visibly intoxicated.
Festive Mocktails for Your Next Party
Learn how to make Virgin Cocktails for a non-alcoholic, festive drink option this holiday season!
Host Liability and Dram Shop
If you are hosting a party or attending a holiday event at a restaurant or bar, certain states consider the host liable if a guest is overserved. “Dram shop” laws refer to laws governing commercial establishments that sell and serve alcoholic beverages to people who are visibly intoxicated or to minors who go on to cause injury or death to third parties.
However, it isn’t only commercial establishments that can be covered by liability laws. In some states, a host who throws a party can be held accountable if a tipsy guest gets behind the wheel after leaving. For example, many state laws allow the victim of a DUI accident to sue and recover damages from a social host when:
- The host provided alcohol to a “visibly intoxicated” guest;
- Circumstances indicated that serving the guest alcohol created an “unreasonable risk of foreseeable harm;”
- The host failed to take reasonable measures to prevent the harm caused; and,
- The guest got into a car accident and negligently caused property damages or injuries to another person.
In some states, you may not be liable if a guest over the age of 21 causes damages, but you ARE liable if you provide alcohol to someone under 21. Dram shop and social host liability laws vary widely from state to state. For more information, click to learn about your state’s dram shop and social host liability laws.
Safe Party Guide
Hosting a holiday party this year? MADD® will help you get your guests home safe with this party guide.
Don’t Invite Food Poisoning to Your Thanksgiving Dinner
Cases of foodborne illnesses are on the rise in the U.S. Since most food contamination happens at home and Thanksgiving festivities are just around the corner, here are a few tips from the CDC to help reduce the chance for injury.
- Clean before and after handling food, including hands and surfaces.
- Minimize the chances of cross-contaminating by using separate cutting boards for meat and produce.
- Use a meat thermometer to ensure a safe minimum internal temperature.
- The longer food sits out, the greater the chance of contamination. Refrigerate promptly in airtight containers.
For more information on basic food safety, please visit CDC’s website.
Injured During the Holiday Season in California?
If you or a loved one are injured during this holiday season, please contact James McKiernan Lawyers for a free consultation! Here are a few of the cases we handle: