As we get into the holiday season, many of us will be attending office parties. Some are informal gatherings held on company property, while others take place in a local restaurant, bar or other venue. While most office parties no longer resemble something out of "Mad Men," alcohol is still a common element of after-hours soirees.
The combination of a relaxed atmosphere and free-flowing drinks can, unfortunately, lead to injuries. Some happen at the parties themselves. Others occur on the way home if someone is driving under the influence. How much responsibility does the employer have for someone who suffers an injury and/or harms others?
If a person is injured at an on-site office party, the business may bear some liability if it can be shown that the property wasn't safely maintained or that people weren't sufficiently warned of potential hazards. If people attending the party aren't used to being in the area where the festivities are taking place or if they've invited guests who aren't familiar with the property at all, accidents can happen.
When alcohol is being served, the business hosting the party could face additional liability. Under Indiana law, there are instances where someone who furnishes alcohol may be civilly liable for any harm or damage caused by someone who becomes intoxicated. For example, if they were serving alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person and that person got into a car accident on the way home as a result of driving under the influence, the hosts could be held liable for any damage, injuries or death caused by that person.
If you or someone you love was injured either at an office party or by someone who was driving drunk after a party, it's wise to get some advice on your legal options. You may be able to hold one or more people or businesses responsible. This can help get you the compensation you need for medical care and other damages.
Source: FindLaw, "Injured at an Office Party: What Are Your Legal Options?," Daniel Taylor, accessed Nov. 20, 2015