One of the best things about living in Florida is enjoying the outdoors on your lanai, rooftop or stoop – yes, even in the summer time. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, there are countless cookouts throughout the Sunshine State. Many homeowners look forward to these gatherings, and some even feel it’s an obligation over the holidays.
But beware that an afternoon of brats, beers and BBQ can have its pitfalls if you’re playing the host. There are many potential avenues of liability to consider. There is the possibility of a premises liability or social host liability lawsuit if you aren’t careful.
The good news for Floridians is that standard homeowners’ or renters’ insurance will probably cover you for most incidents, including injury, fires, property damage and probably even a guest causing a DUI crash after the party.
The bad news is there are some caveats. For example, if you charge a cover price to attend, that insurance policy could be rendered invalid. Same for if you charge for drinks or attempt in any other way to make money off your guests. If you do ask for contributions, it’s probably best to stick to a standard BYOB (bring-your-own-beer) policy.
That said, our Fort Lauderdale injury lawyers look at some of the injuries that can occur during and as a result of a summer party:
- Liquor liability. Probably better known as “dram shop liability” or “social host liability.” F.S. 768.125 holds that a person who knowingly sells or furnishes alcohol to a minor or an adult who is known to have a habitual addiction to alcohol may be held liable if that individual then gets into a car and hurts either themselves or someone else. The specifically does not extend to adults who get drunk and are not habitual addicts of alcohol. Mostly, we’ll see this arise with adults allowing underage teens to drink at parties, thinking they are at least safer there than somewhere else. However, bear in mind that drunk minors may still injure themselves on your property too, and you’d be liable for that as well.
- Accidents due to a defective condition on property. A child gets burned on an outdoor grill. A friend falls down the steps of an outdoor deck. A swimming pool mishap. In most cases, homeowners’ insurance policies will cover these incidents.
- Fireworks Accidents. Most fireworks injuries are caused by misuse of these explosives by consumers. They may light them improperly or light them too close to people or light them while holding them in their hand. Sometimes, even when they are being used properly, fireworks can be unpredictable and result in serious injuries, including severe burns, lacerations, amputations and more. You’ll want to check your homeowners’ insurance policy – and local ordinance – before you even purchase firearms. Generally, it’s far safer to simply watch fireworks as a spectator at a larger show. If there is evidence the firework was defectively designed or manufactured, anyone injured might be able to pursue a product liability lawsuit.
In addition to homeowners’ insurance, one might also consider excess liability coverage and umbrella insurance coverage, which provide additional coverage for those who intend to host social gatherings this summer.
If you have been injured in an accident, contact the Hollander Law Firm at (888) 751-7770 for a free and confidential consultation. There is no fee unless we win.
BBQ season is here: Find out what mishaps your insurance will cover, June 20, 2016, By Virginia K. Smith, Brick Underground
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