The Summertime Blues of Injuries and Liabilities

After a tough Spring with shutdowns from Covid, we’re all still moving ahead pretty slowly and with caution – but we’re doing it in flip flops and with spiedies on the grill. Although this time of year means a parade of graduation parties, (virtual or otherwise), barbecues, backyard beers, the change of seasons means something different for the personal injury attorneys at Stanley law. We no longer see slip and fall accidents from snow and ice. Now we see guests getting singed when grilling goes wrong, poolside accidents, and injuries from misfiring fireworks,. The stakes are even higher when alcohol’s served.

I don’t want to crash the party, but I tell everyone to be aware of unsafe conditions and not to go overboard. You need to be extra cautious if any parties involve people under the age of 21.

Summer party injuries – What are the laws if you’re hosting a party?

Social host laws in New York
Whenever you invite family or friends into your home, there are legal responsibilities. In the eyes of the law, your guest is considered a “licensee” and you have a certain duty of care to take reasonable measures to keep them safe and if you do not, a lawsuit could ensue. Some examples might be broken or missing handrails, bad lighting, slick surfaces. Falls that are caused by dangerous conditions could lead to serious injuries. Brain injuries, broken bones, and soft tissue damage are not uncommon. Some guests, especially seniors, may never recover. As with any accident, age makes a big difference.

Drinking at a party

If a social host serves alcohol and that guest later injures someone after becoming intoxicated, New York laws say that the host cannot be held liable. So let’s say a host invites friends over to crack open some cold ones. After the get together, one of the impaired guests sadly hits a cyclist. The host will not be held responsible.

It’s a whole different story if the host serves alcohol to a minor. If the adult oversees a gathering and provides alcohol to someone under the age of 21 and that individual later mows down someone on a bicycle, the host can be charged and penalized and face enormous civil liability.  In many of these tragic cases, the adult doesn’t actually provide the alcohol to a minor. Yet they don’t property supervise the summer pool parties (or any party) they control and they fail to take reasonable corrective action once they learn younger people are drinking.

A word about pools

New York makes it mandatory that swimming pools have certain safety measures to ensure guests and especially children are kept safe. The premises liability lawyers at Stanley Law have litigated many cases when pool owners have been careless and negligent. Opposing counsel often asserts that the victim of a drowning or injury assumed risk by using the pool. This isn’t always the case. An easy example might be a pool owner who has a diving board when the pool is too shallow. For those of you who own a pool, you need to have a keen eye towards caution and common sense. For guests who want to cool off and let loose, you need to be aware of hazards.

A last bit of advice

Stanley Law believes in working ourselves out of a job by informing hosts of their obligations, but if you or a loved one has been injured, Stanley Law can assist. Please, everyone, have fun, but be careful. If you need any assistance with a serious personal injury, please reach out to us at 1-800-608-3333. Or you can email me directly at Joe@StanleyLawOffices.com. We’ll be there for you.