heineken-beer-glassSo the kids are coming home and they want to invite their friends over to share war stores about their first semester in college. One-third of homeowners fail to realize they can be found legally liable if an intoxicated guest causes a car crash.

Courts in most states will rule against hosts of holiday parties where alcohol is provided to minors. Also, liquor must not be served recklessly to any guest who clearly has had too much to drink.

Generally, inebriated guests cannot successfully sue party hosts. But third parties victimized in alcohol-related accidents can and do, particularly when the drunk driver has little or no insurance. Drunken driving lawsuits can lead to financial ruin to the party found liable.

Hosts also can be liable for losses that happen at the party. Consider an underage guest who was served alcohol and whose cigarette sets a Christmas tree on fire. If the resulting blaze destroys neighboring homes, the party host can be held responsible. Depending on state, party hosts may be liable even when no alcohol is involved.