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How you can limit your exposure to liability as a social host

If you hold a house party and serve a minor alcohol, then you can be held both criminally and civilly liable for any injuries he or she inflicts upon his or her passengers or other motorists under both state and social host laws.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, it's possible to protect yourself from behind held financially liable for your guests' injuries by taking out a liquor liability add-on to your homeowner's policy. This can be particularly important since at least 43 states have social host, also known as dram shop, laws in place.

While most homeowner's insurance policies already carry some degree of liability for incidences like these, coverage is generally capped at $300,000. In the most severe type of accident, this amount may not, even along with the motorist's liability insurance, completely cover any medical bills that arise.

It also doesn't protect you from being charged with a crime for serving minors alcohol. Therefore, in order to protect yourself from both being held both financially responsible and criminally liable for a minor's drunk driving, you should take a few proactive measures to protect yourself.

Learning about Maryland's social host responsibility laws is important no matter what age the guests are that are coming to your party.

You may also find that either having the party at another venue that has its own liquor license or employing a bartender to work your house party is an effective choice to ensure that alcohol is not illegally served to a minor.

If you do decide to have a party in your home and serve alcohol, then you may find that deciding to be a role model host or hostess by not drinking is an effective choice. It may allow you to better identify those who are intoxicated themselves long before they get behind the wheel. It may also help you in ensuring that no alcohol ends up in a minor's hands.

No matter what age your partygoers are, you should strive to always make alternative drinks that do not contain alcohol available to your guests. And, if you note that a guest is drunk, you should make arrangements for he or she to get home safely.

If you've held a party at your home and you've being threatened with being charged for having served a minor, then a Baltimore underage drinking attorney can provide guidance in your legal matter.

Source: Elliot Whittier Insurance, "Hosting a Party at your Home? Serving Alcohol?," accessed Sep. 21, 2017

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