NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The countdown to the Super Bowl is on, and that means come that Sunday in February a lot of people will be throwing parties – with chips, beer, and maybe lawsuits on the menu, too.
That’s right, lawsuits. As CBS 2’s Maurice DuBois reported Tuesday, a party host can end up getting sued. But with a little planning, it’s easy to throw a penalty-free party.
Could you end up being sued by the very friends you invited to your Super Bowl party? People who spoke with CBS 2 said there was no way they would ever sue a friend.
“No, never – that’s ridiculous,” said Al Falcone of Paterson, N.J. “Not much of a friend that would sue you.”
“I would never got after my friends,” added Raj Kaushal of Cromwell, Conn.
But experts say it happens. If a guest at your party ends up with food poisoning, or has an accident because he or she drank too much, you could end up finding yourself as the defendant in a lawsuit.
“Nobody thinks they’re going to be sued, and people get sued,” said Bob Rusbuldt of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers Association. “So party hosts have to be cognizant that even friends can file lawsuits.”
And the repercussions can be serious. You could be responsible for lawyer fees, lost wages, and even medical bills.
“Even if the food is served by a caterer, by a pizza delivery shop, by a restaurant, you are responsible for what you serve in your house,” Rusbuldt said.
And if there is an alcohol-related accident, party hosts may be held legally liable.
“The argument they will make is that the social host knew, or should have known, of the level of intoxication of their guest when they left,” said Dick Semerdjian of the American Bar Association.
To protect yourself, experts advise looking at the liability portion of your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, and talk to your agent about any exclusion.
“You need to make sure that you are adequately covered,” Rusbuldt said.
But there are also ways to head off problems. Handle food carefully, and you may want to ban booze or limit drinks. And if things get out of hand, have a plan to get guests home safely.
“If someone can’t drive, and everybody is intoxicated, and there’s no way to get that person home, please call a cab,” Semerdjian said.
You can watch Super Bowl XLVII on CBS 2 on Feb. 3.
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