As parents we have a parental responsibility to keep our children safe. As they get older, children may wish to throw parties for their friends in your home and as the parent, it is your responsibility to ensure that the event is safe and responsible. Failure to ensure that everyone is behaving responsibility can result in serious consequences for parents, including legal liability, financial damages, and long-lasting injuries.
Parental Responsibility for Accidents After a Party Thrown in Their Home
Under social host liability laws for underage guests, a parent can be held responsible if your child throws a party in your home and underage guests become drunk and cause a car accident. In fact, the law can hold parents accountable for their children’s behavior even if the parents were not directly involved in the incident. In many cases, parents can be sued for damages for an accident caused by their children’s actions, including property damage, medical bills, and lost wages. Read more about how parents can be held responsible for their teen child’s car accident here: https://www.tariolaw.com/can-parents-be-held-responsible-for-their-teen-drivers-car-accident/
The best way to avoid legal liability and protect your family from accidents caused by your children is to take proactive steps to prevent drug use and drinking by underage guests. Here are some effective strategies:
- Set clear rules and expectations. Only agree to host a party if your child is open to your rules and expectations. Make it clear that underage drinking, drug use, and other risky behaviors will not be allowed and that the party will be shut down if these activities occur. It is also wise to ensure that noise bylaws are followed.
- Supervise the event. As a parent, it is your responsibility to ensure that your child’s party is supervised and controlled so you can prevent dangerous behavior and address any issues that arise. Let your kids know that there will be adult supervision at any event hosted in your home. Being present throughout the get together, possibly along with one or two other parents, is the best way to ensure that no dangerous activity is happening under your roof.
- Limit access to alcohol to guests who are of legal drinking age. If you choose to serve alcohol at your child’s party, make sure that it is only provided to guests who are of legal drinking age. If underage drinking occurs, you could be held liable for any damages or injuries that result. RCW 66.44.270 states: “It is unlawful for any person to sell, give, or otherwise supply liquor to any person under the age of twenty-one years or permit any person under that age to consume liquor on his or her premises or on any premises under his or her control.” If you are throwing a large party, consider hiring a professional bartender or serving alcohol in a controlled environment, such as a separate room with limited access to avoid underage drinking.
- Ensure guest safety. In addition to preventing underage drinking, parents should also take steps to ensure guest safety throughout the event. This includes monitoring for use of drugs and other substances, ensuring that guests do not drive while under the influence, and fixing any potential safety hazards such as loose railings before the party starts.
If your child’s party does result in a car accident or other dangerous incident, it is important to take immediate action to address the situation. For example, calling 9-1-1, cooperating with law enforcement, and seeking legal advice may all be a good idea. You should also communicate openly and honestly with your child about the consequences of their actions and work together to prevent similar incidents from happening again in the future.
Seek the help of a car accident lawyer
If you or a loved one was injured in a collision because of the negligence of another, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights. Let an experienced car accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a lawyer. Call the personal injury lawyers at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!