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What Is the Duty of of Homeowner Hosting a Party When a Child or Guest Suffers Personal Injuries?

By Scott Marks, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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In California and other States, parties for children are frequently hosted at a home. What are the duties of a homeowner when hosting a party for children? While a homeowner is not responsible for every single injury that takes place regardless of cause, a homeowner, who hosts a party, has a duty to provide a reasonably safe environment for children and other guests at the party. When hosting a party, there are risks of injury to children and guests. The risks are increased when there is alcohol or even drugs being used at or prior to the party. The risks are also increased when the number of guests or people at the party exceeds a number of what would be safe or manageable for the party being hosted. A party host may be legally liable for personal injuries suffered by a child or guests depending the facts and circumstances of the injury and the applicable State law. It is often helpful to consult with a Personal Injury Attorney to find out the rights and remedies available to an injury victim including those injury victims who are children.

There are three things that can be done to prevent or reduce the incidents of injury that take place at a party at a home:

1. Planning. Planning can go a long way to making a party safer for the guests. Limit the number of guests and invitations that go out to invitees. Set limits as to who can attend and additional guests that can be brought by those on the set invitiation list. Make sure that you have enough space for the guests. Make sure that there is enough food and drinks for the guests. If alcohol is being provided or allowed, make sure that there is monitoring of the legal aged adults and that underaged guests are not permitted to drink.

2. Supervision. There should be adults designated to supervise the party especially if there is any alcohol served or allowed at the party. Make sure that the party area is periodically inspected and cleaned to prevent guests from tripping and falling at the party. Provide adult supervision for any and all children at the party so that the children are watched and kept safe.

3. Limitations. Many injuries result when a party gets out of control as to the number of guests, drinking, or other activities at the party. Keeping control of the party and setting limits can prevent many incidents from taking place. The hosts and other responsible adults should not tolerate any misconduct. If there are problems at a party, address them as soon as possible. Otherwise, a party can get out of control and lead to serious personal injuries and even deaths in some instances.

In Antioch, California, it was reported that a Sweet 16 Party was the site of gunfire and the injuries of 6 people at the party. It was reported that the injury victims ranged in age from 13 to 21. Police responded to the scene of the accident. Apparently, several of the guests or people at the party had weapons. An argument lead to the discharge of the guns and the personal injuries. There were about 40 people in a garage at the time of the incident. It is unfortunate that an event to celebrate a girl’s Sweet Sixteen birthday party lead to these personal injuries. This incident shows the added danger of guns and weapons when brought to a party. See Gunfire at Sweet 16 Party in California.

As stated above, not all injuries are avoidable or preventable; however, a party host should take his or her best efforts to plan for a party, supervise the guests, and set limitations for the party and the guests.