Liability for Injuries at Parties

Answering Questions About Liability for Injuries at Holiday Parties and Similar Events

When an individual or a company throws a party, there are usually some questions about potential liability for injuries that might occur at the party or afterward. This is especially true if the host is planning to serve alcohol. Likewise, guests often have questions about what legal options are available if they have suffered an injury in connection with a birthday party, holiday party or any gathering of that nature.

When you really need a Chicago injury lawyer, call Grazian & Volpe at 773.838.8100 or fill out our online form.

At Grazian & Volpe, we regularly provide advice and representation to those who have been injured at parties in and around Chicago. Whether the injury was due to a slip-and-fall accident at the party or involves a drunk driving accident caused by an intoxicated partygoer, the Chicago personal injury attorneys at our firm are ready to help you.

We invite you to watch attorney John Grazian discuss holiday injuries during one of his regular appearances on WCIU’s “U & Me in the Morning” television segment.

Answering Common Questions About Holiday Parties

Over the years, we have been asked many questions about liability for injuries at parties. Some of the questions come up often, so we want to provide some general guidance here. Remember, these answers are general. It is always best to consult with our experienced Chicago injury lawyers in person before drawing any conclusions on your own.

Q: My boss is concerned about serving alcohol at our company holiday party. She does not want to be liable if someone gets in a car accident after the party. Would the company be liable if a worker got drunk and hurt someone?

A: The answer depends on the municipality in which the party is held. If the city requires a server of alcohol to get a permit or a liquor license, then anyone serving alcohol in that jurisdiction is equivalent to a bar or a “dram shop.” Under Illinois dram shop laws, the company in this question would be liable if a party guest drank and injured someone. If the municipality does not require a permit or license, then your boss and company can serve alcohol at the party without any worries about liability. Without a dram shop law, the rule is that the drinker makes the choice to drink, so any liability is the drinker’s alone, not the server’s.

Q: I am hosting a New Year’s Eve party and some guests will be just under 21. What happens if I allow them to drink alcohol at the party?

A: Under a 2004 Illinois law, known as the social host liability law, anyone who gives alcohol to a minor becomes liable for injuries suffered by that minor. Additionally, the alcohol provider is liable in a personal injury lawsuit for any injuries inflicted on a third party by the minor. That means, for example, that you could be sued by a pedestrian who was hit by a car driven by a 20-year-old who drank alcohol at your party.

Q: My employer had a mandatory office holiday party. I attended and I suffered a broken leg when I fell. What are my rights?

A: The key here is that attendance at the party was mandatory. Anything your employer requires you to do is considered work. Therefore, mandatory parties are work. So, your injury suffered at the holiday party entitles you to workers’ compensation, just like if you had been hurt while performing your daily job tasks. If attendance was not mandatory, then you would not be entitled to workers’ compensation.

Contact a Chicago Injury Lawyer for a Free Consultation

If you have questions about holiday parties, birthday parties and what your legal rights and obligations might be, please reach out to the team at Grazian & Volpe, for advice. Schedule a free consultation by calling 773.838.8100. You can also contact our Chicago law firm online.