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How to Avoid Liability When Hosting a Graduation Party  

So the day has finally come. Your child has truly grown up and is getting ready for a winter graduation. You’re sending out invites left and right and planning the perfect graduation party to celebrate their accomplishments. Then, on the day of, someone slips and falls on your property. What should be a day about your graduate’s achievement quickly turns into a headache as you navigate a guest’s personal injury claim. If you’re throwing a graduation party on your property, here is how to avoid liability.

Types of Liability 

Put simply, personal injury is when someone suffers harm from an injury or accident and another party is legally responsible. Most likely, if someone is injured on your property, it’s in a slip-and-fall accident, also known as premises liability. It’s a tough situation when a group of friends start the evening in their graduation dresses and end it in plaster casts..

However, slip and fall accidents aren’t the only major liability issue if you’re hosting a graduation party. If you’re serving alcohol at the graduation party and a guest is injured or damages property, most jurisdictions allow claims to be made against your household. You could also be held liable without even knowing there’s alcohol on your property. These are known as social host laws.

While even a dry graduation party carries the risk of someone sneaking in alcohol, there are ways to mitigate slip and fall liability. In the winter, make sure that major walkways and your driveway are free of snow and ice. Deal with spills as quickly as possible to prevent anyone from slipping. If there are known hazards on your property, either rope them off or display conspicuous signage to alert your guests to the danger. Make sure your outdoors is properly lit, should groups congregate outside. If this isn’t an option, politely request that all guests stay indoors.

Your Best Defense

One of the best ways to combat premises liability is by considering both increased homeowner liability limits and an umbrella insurance policy. Umbrella insurance is simply additional liability insurance that is designed to protect yourself and your assets from the liability caused by injuries, property damage, and various lawsuits. Make sure you choose a policy that includes Bodily Injury Liability which prevents you from being held legally responsible if someone is injured on your property during the graduation party.

While you’re able to add on umbrella policy to most homeowners insurance types, it’s best to contact a lawyer to help you discuss your policy needs, the types of liability you’re facing, and how to best protect yourself against any potential lawsuits. There are several personal injury law firms in Mississauga that are adept at navigating premises liability cases and recommending the proper insurance policies.

Other Considerations 

While an umbrella policy protects you from most of the legal liability of hosting a graduation party, there are a few other tips to ensure that everyone has a safe, fun time. Kennel your pets during the party to reduce the risk of an animal bite. Dogs and cats often become overwhelmed in social situations with a lot of strangers. Even the most timid animal may lash out when it’s stressed, so it’s best to eliminate that possibility from the get-go. It’s also a good idea to have a fully stocked first-aid kit as well as a fire extinguisher on-hand. While the hope is that you don’t need to use it, there’s no harm in being overly prepared.

A Night to Remember

The ultimate goal when hosting a graduation party is that your graduate remembers it for all the right reasons, not the wrong ones. By taking the right steps to make sure your home is party-ready, you’re already one step ahead of the curve. Consider contacting an attorney to discuss your liability as well as preventive steps. Most of all, have fun! If you’ve done all you can to make sure you’re legally secure, spend your evening making memories and celebrating your graduate’s success!

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