Social Host Liability When You Have a Party

by Doug Zanes | Last Updated: December 13, 2017

Social Host Liability: Your Legal Responsibilities To Guests At Your Home

You cleaned the bathrooms and stocked the fridge for your guests. What else should you do in order to provide a safe environment and avoid social host liability? Have you inspected your home for potential hazards like slippery sidewalks? According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, even falling furniture threatens safety since around 11,076 children suffered injures from furniture tipovers between 2008 and 2010. Before hosting guests, understand your social host liability. Understand your legal responsibilities for your guests safety.

Categorize Guests

Every state legislature enacts unique laws that help courts determine injury liability for accidents that occur on private property. According to Phoenix personal injury attorney Doug Zanes, guest categories are one factor these laws consider. Guests could be uninvited trespassers, invitees who visit your property for primarily business purposes, or licensees invited onto your property for pleasure. In Arizona, your holiday guests most likely fall into the licensee category.

Take Responsibility To Prevent Injuries

Generally, your guests must take reasonable precautions to maintain their safety while they visit you. As the property owner, you also hold responsibility to warn visitors of potential hazards and take reasonable action to identify and eliminate any risks.

Tips To Keep Your Property Safe

Consider following these tips to improve your property’s safety, and reduce your social host liability, before guests arrive:

  1. Repair structural problems, including broken stair railings or rotten deck boards.
  2. Rope off any areas you can’t repair.
  3. Remove dangerous items such as a rusty swingset.
  4. Secure tripping hazards, including electrical cords.
  5. Clear potential hazards such as loose branches on the sidewalk and mold in the bathroom.
  6. Install adequate lighting throughout your property.
  7. Secure televisions, bookcases and other items that could fall on someone.
  8. Restrain your dog.
  9. Install a fence around the pool, and provide adult supervision for all swimmers.

If you host guests this holiday, you could have some social host liability and be held responsible for their injuries. Familiarize yourself with the services offered by Zanes Law as you address any potential liability.

Doug Zanes
Doug Zanes: Founding Attorney Raised in Douglas, Arizona, and went to college at Arizona State University and graduated from law school at St. Mary’s University School of Law in Texas. Doug began practicing law in Phoenix Arizona in 1997.
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