Canadians will be celebrating this long weekend with barbecues, cottage getaways and late-night parties hosted by friends and relatives. Did you know that social hosts serving alcohol could be held legally responsible if someone gets hurt? Anyone throwing a Canada Day party should celebrate safely and serve responsibly to avoid social host liability claims.

What is a social host liability claim?

If a party guest has too much to drink, and injures themselves or another person, the host of that party could bear some liability for those losses. Although Canadian courts remain undecided on the issue, and recent cases on the issue have been settled before trial, it appears increasingly likely that a successful social host liability claim will happen sooner rather than later.

These cases all come down to whether the host knew, or ought to have known, that someone was intoxicated and posed a potential danger to themselves or others. If a social host continues to serve alcohol to an intoxicated person, and that person later injures themselves or another person, the injured party could bring a social host liability claim to recover compensation.

What should responsible social hosts do to protect their guests?

Social hosts should take reasonable steps to make sure that their guests are free from harm, and err on the side of caution if they are concerned about someone that may have had too much to drink.

Bars are obligated by law to stop serving anyone that appears intoxicated, and social hosts should follow the same rule. Other ways to encourage moderate drinking include serving a variety of food and offering non-alcoholic drink options.

Most importantly, hosts should do everything possible to prevent guests from driving if they are intoxicated, including:

  • Providing details before the party about public transit options;
  • Allowing guests to spend the night
  • Hiring a certified bartender for the evening
  • Arranging designated drivers to car pool; and/o
  • Booking taxis in advance.

Toronto personal injury lawyers specializing in social host liability claims

If you are injured at a party where alcohol is being served, or were harmed by an intoxicated guest after they left a party, there may be grounds for a social host liability claim. These types of claims are highly fact-specific. The knowledgeable lawyers at Jasmine Daya & Co. have decades of cumulative experience supporting injured victims, and understand how to advance these types of claims. 

We offer free consultations to new clients. Contact us today to discuss your potential case, either online, or by calling our office at 416-967-9100.