OKLAHOMA CITY– Holiday parties are in full swing and from martinis to mojitos, the drinks are expected to flow.
But before companies and social butterflies throw these events, a local attorney is wanting you to think twice before serving alcohol.
While everyone mingles under the mistletoe, attorney David Slane warns event planners to think about how they will manage guests who’ve had too much to drink.
He says under Oklahoma law, if a person leaves your party intoxicated and injures another person in a car accident, you could face consequences.
“We’ve seen the impact of having a party and someone getting behind the wheel and injuring or even killing someone because they are drunk,” Slane said. “Oklahoma courts have essentially fashioned the rules to such an extent that you can be held liable. If it’s a company party, the company can he held liable or an individual person.”
Slane said there are other options to protect yourself from costly litigation, like hiring a bartender who is trained to know when someone has had enough.
Have pre-selected designated drivers at the party or have a tipsy tow service on speed dial to accommodate guests who are past their limits.
Party planners should also have an area where people can sleep it off and always have an array of non-alcoholic beverages.
Slane said, “I know of a case where a company has been held liable once they serve someone alcohol and that person later had an accident and they had several thousand dollars judged against them that they had to pay.”
Another tip officials suggest for party planners is to slowly stop serving alcohol about two hours before the event is expected to end.