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There’s nothing we love more on a sunny summer day than heading outdoors and enjoying all that this season has to offer. No matter what you get up to when the mercury rises, let’s take a look at some ways to keep you safe while you have fun in the sun.

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Summer Party Liability

We now all know how important it is to stay safe as we enjoy this sunny season. But what if someone else is injured at a summer party on your property? Let’s take a look at your legal position if a guest suffers a personal injury or property damage.

When the drinks start flowing and those inhibitions start to loosen, things can get overlooked. It’s easy for a slightly inebriated hand to spill a drink onto a neighbour’s phone. Even when there are no drinks involved, summer barbecues are full of hot surfaces, children playing and water all around. Accidents are usually taken in good humor but there’s no guarantee—especially if an insurance company gets involved or the person has to resort to a claim to afford a replacement for an expensive gadget.

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Property damage

Let’s say that a party guest’s expensive camera has been damaged beyond repair due to an accident involving the pool at your 4th of July cookout. Your guest is worried about their camera but tells you they have insurance so it will be covered—no hard feelings. Phew. The next day, your guest calls their insurance company and informs them of the damage. Their insurance company may refuse to pay out due to this accident clearly being someone else’s fault. As the party host, the insurance company may demand that you cover the costs for a replacement.

Personal injury

Injuries are sadly common at barbecues and backyard parties—the heady mix of sun, food, drinks, a hot grill, lots of people in close quarters, fireworks and maybe even a pool that makes a summer party so fun can also lead to a plethora of hazards. Most injuries sustained at garden parties are minor but it doesn’t take much for a simple slip on a spilled drink to turn into a serious back injury. Many people have no choice but to file a personal injury claim to cover the costs of their medical treatment. If a guest at your summer neighbourhood mixer slips on a puddle of water that has splashed out of the kids’ pool onto your decking, you could be in for a legal headache. In order to cover their medical expenses and loss of income from time off work, a personal injury case might be their only option even if they personally don’t hold it against you.

So, where do you stand?

Your homeowner’s insurance should encompass a level of liability insurance, which would cover the costs of any lawsuit. However, this kind of claim could drastically increase your insurance premium. In some cases, it could actually be cheaper in the long run to pay for your legal expenses out of pocket. You might be better off taking out a separate personal umbrella policy (PUP), which would cover you in any situation where you need legal protection.

Hosting a summer party might seem like a casual affair but this does put you in the position of “Event Organizer”. As such, you are expected to provide a safe environment without unreasonable hazards—this might entail putting a non-slip surface around a pool, positioning your grill far away from where children will be playing, and ensuring that all the food you serve is safe.