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Hosting a party can have hidden dangers

Holiday time in New York is festive with lots of parties and dinners with family and friends. But on any occasion, any time of the year, or for any reason another person enters a home, the homeowner is exposed to some degree of liability. If for any reason property in the home is damaged or one of the people visiting the home sustains an injury, there can be problems, even between the best of friends. However, there are some common sense guidelines a homeowner can follow to both minimize the risks and to be prepared to know what to do should an incident occur.

The first consideration for a homeowner is to be sure the home is in proper repair and there are no known dangers. If there is a potential problem, remedy it or clearly warn the guests. Insurance experts caution that some dangers may be from a seemingly benign source, such as a child near a pool or Jacuzzi. Additionally, it's generally a good idea to limit guests to those who are known by the homeowner.

A factor that can increase the potential for an unwelcome event is alcohol. It is wise to provide non-alcoholic beverages in addition, offer ample food and stop serving alcohol some time before the party is scheduled to end. New York has specific laws prohibiting a social host from serving alcohol to an underage individual, as well as to any individual who is clearly intoxicated. If an incident does occur, it is prudent for the homeowner to know what the homeowner's insurance covers and, perhaps more importantly, what the policy excludes.

If a person is harmed at another person's residence, it is important to have legal advice. An experienced premises liability attorney can evaluate a case to help ascertain where the liability lies.

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