Host Liabilities to Consider When Hosting a BBQ
Hosting a BBQ for friends and family is a common summer activity in Alberta. However, inviting others into your home or yard comes with a certain amount of responsibility. This responsibility increases when you decide to serve alcohol or invite your guests to consume alcohol and/or cannabis in your home. Not only must you consider any risks to the safety of your guests while they are at your home, but you must think about the risks to your guests and others after they leave.
If you are worried about host liabilities to consider when hosting a BBQ this summer, our Edmonton personal injury lawyers may be able to provide you with more information.
Liability to Visitors and Guests
The Occupier's Liability Act imposes on an occupier of premises a duty of care to every visitor on the premises. This means that a host is responsible for taking care that their visitors remain reasonably safe in using their premises. If you invite your guests to consume alcohol or cannabis, they may be at increased risk of injuring themselves either during your BBQ, or after they leave. This increases the risk that you, as the host of the BBQ, will be held liable for their injuries.
What Is an Occupier?
An occupier is defined in the Act as any person who:
- is in physical possession of premises, or
- who has responsibility for, and control over, the condition of the premises, the activities conducted on the premises and those allowed to enter the premises.
There can be more than one occupier of the same premises. For example, if you leased a property to host an event, you may have been responsible for the activities that went on at the time of the event, while the landlord was responsible for the condition of the premises. In that case, you would both be considered occupiers in the event that one of the guests was injured during.
A social host is someone who hosts a party and is distinguished, in a legal context, from a commercial host, who sells alcohol to guests for commercial reasons, and an employer host, which is an employer who hosts a party for their employees.
What Situations Should You Avoid?
How do you avoid being held liable for your guests' injuries? You do everything you can to ensure that they stay safe. This might include:
- ensuring there are no hazards in any area where guests might enter, taking into account the fact that guests may become intoxicated
- keeping track of the amount of alcohol or cannabis that guests consume, which might involve staying sober yourself
- having a plan to get your guests home safely after the BBQ
Liability to People Other Than Guests
What if one of your guests consumes alcohol at your party and injures someone else in an accident after leaving your property? This situation has been considered by the courts in this country on several occasions. The Supreme Court of Canada has concluded that, as a general rule, a social host does not owe a duty of care to a person injured by a guest who has consumed alcohol. However, these cases are very dependent on the specific facts in front of the court and the possibility of being held liable for injuries to others should not be discounted.
Contact our Edmonton Personal Injury Lawyers Today For a Consultation
If you have any questions, our Edmonton personal injury lawyers are happy to provide you with more information on host liabilities to consider when hosting a BBQ this summer. Contact us today and see how we may be of service to you.
*This article provides a general overview on a legal subject, and is not intended as legal advice. If you are seeking legal advice, please consult with a lawyer.