If I Slip & Fall at a Holiday Party, Can I Sue the Homeowner for Damages?

toast at Christmas party

When you RSVP to a holiday party, it’s probably with the assumption that the evening will be full of love, laughter, and lots of good cheer. Put another way, no matter what the host has planned, you don’t expect to end the night at the hospital.

Unfortunately, slip and fall accidents are fairly common at social events—especially around the holidays. Unmarked thresholds, fallen decorations, spilled drinks, and freshly waxed floors are just a few of the hazards partygoers face when celebrating the season at someone else’s home.

While most people who stumble and fall suffer little more than a bruise to their ego, such accidents have the potential to cause devastating injuries. In those scenarios, the associated damages often add up fast, and they can be enough to threaten the victim’s financial security.

If you were seriously hurt at a holiday party in an accident that you think could have been prevented, you may be wondering whether you’re entitled to compensation. As long as you weren’t solely to blame for the incident—in other words, you weren’t being reckless at the time—there’s a good chance you have grounds for legal action.

Generally speaking, owners and occupiers have an obligation to maintain their premises to a reasonably safe standard. This duty of care extends to protect invitees, licensees, and—in rare circumstances—trespassers.

The highest obligation is owed to invitees, which include those who are invited onto the premises for the owner’s benefit. Examples include store customers and restaurant patrons. Owners are expected to perform regular maintenance and address any hazards that arise promptly, so invitees are not exposed to danger during their visit.

The next level of care is owed to licensees. This refers to those who enter the premises for their own benefit, like utility technicians who must perform work for the county. Social guests are also considered licensees. An owner is expected to warn licensees of any potential hazards on the property, so they can make sure to avoid them.

The lowest duty of care is owed to those who enter the premises without even an implied invitation, which constitutes trespassing. In Florida, the only obligation owners have to trespassers is to avoid using excessive force when protecting themselves and their property.

Put another way, if you were hurt at a holiday party to which you were invited, you should be able to file a third-party claim with the host’s homeowners insurance carrier. As long as you can present evidence of both liability and damages, your case is likely worth pursuing.

Speak with a Florida Premises Liability Attorney

If you were hurt at a holiday party and you want to see if you have grounds for a claim against the host, turn to Emerson Straw. Our compassionate team has recovered more than $27 million for victims of personal injury and wrongful death.

Get the experience and resources of a powerhouse practice backing your every move during the claims process. To set up a free initial case review with a premises liability lawyer in Florida, complete our Online Contact Form or call (727) 821-1500.