Warning for New Year's Eve Party Hosts - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Warning for New Year's Eve Party Hosts

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If you think staying in at a house party is a safer alternative than going out to a bar this New Year's Eve, we have a warning for you. If you host a party and serve alcohol you can be held liable if your guests leave and get in a drunk driving car accident. Local insurance agents say it happens more often than you think, and can cost you not only a friend, but possibly everything you own.

 "We are kind of in a sue crazy nation," said Johnny Jorgensen, President Jorgensen Insurance.

Jorgensen says that is why homeowners need to be extremely careful when hosting a party where alcohol will be served.

"The sad thing is the legal system, it lets you come in and won't charge you anything. If a lawyer feels he or she can make money they will sue the other party. They will take a certain amount of dollars, usually forty percent. If they get nothing, they charge you nothing, so the incentive is to go get a lawyer to sue somebody."

Jorgensen says if your guest is hurt or killed, they or their family members can sue you for pain and suffering or damages such as loss of income. He says you may not think a friend or their family would do that, but in times of tragedy things change.

 "There's so many variables that come into play and it's very hard. The best thing to do be cautious, let people stay, have designated drivers, or just cut the liquor off. One night of partying is not worth losing a life a friendship, everything you have ever worked for."

He says there are insurance polices, such as an umbrella policy that can offer homeowners more protection. However, the best thing to do is have a safety plan in place and be conscious of how much your guests are drinking.

Jorgensen says situations like these not only hurt those involved, but also the clients of the insurance companies. He says when someone is sued, the people who pay the premiums are the ones who end up paying the claim because their prices are raised.

Jorgensen says each case is different and he says if you are serving people a lot of alcohol, as opposed to just a few drinks, your liability increases.