Cinco de Mayo Going Off with a Bang
Cinco de Mayo, also commonly called “Cinco de Drinko,” is quickly approaching, and on a Friday no less. We can assume that a certain amount of debauchery is scheduled for that special day, which has become less about celebrating Mexican Independence (which is actually in September, not May), and more about having a good time.
Below are some hidden dangers to keep in mind with the upcoming holiday.
Drinking in Public
Whether people are knocking back margaritas, nursing their Coronas or chugging their Dos Equis, there are specific laws associated with drinking in public. What’s known as the “open container laws” vary state by state, and in some states, drinking and carrying alcohol is not even prohibited. For instance, Las Vegas and New Orleans don’t have open container laws.
States that have open container laws usually also prohibit public urination, public nuisance (loud behavior), and disorderly conduct (unruly or destructive behavior). So if you’re drinking and you think you want to push over some smart cars to see if you can, think again.
Drinking and Driving
Drunk drivers are always a concern, but especially so on a day associated with drinking and having fun. Thirty-eight states have Dram Shop Acts, which makes it illegal for businesses that sell alcohol to serve liquor to someone who is obviously intoxicated. The business can be held liable for any injury the drunken guest inflicts on anyone else.
Although the law is meant to deter belligerence, many bar hop on Cinco de Mayo. It’s also not the responsibility of a business to prevent someone from driving if they’re drunk.
Fireworks Gone Awry
Only fifteen states, including California, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, allow the sale and use of non-aerial and non-explosive fireworks. These fireworks are generally considered weaker and less dangerous. Stronger fireworks used in aerial shows are illegal in all fifty states unless you have a license, but they’re often sold for Cinco de Mayo festivities.
Fireworks always pose a potential health and safety risk, even those that are considered weaker. If you set off a firecracker too close to someone else, they can get injured. The most common injuries associated with fireworks include hand burns/lacerations, amputation (losing a finger), hearing loss and eye injuries. If you’re in a drought, a firework can cause a destructive fire and property damage.
Stay safe this Cinco de Mayo!
Think Twice Before Hosting Your Memorial Day Party!
Memorial Day is quickly approaching, and it means that warmer summer days are near the horizon. BBQs full of good food and good fun are par for the course on this American holiday, but as with any holiday centered around eating and having a good time, it is also fraught with opportunities for partygoers to get injured or cause injury to others.
If someone gets drunk at your Memorial Day BBQ, are you liable if they get into an accident? It depends on the state. Some states follow “social host liability” laws which finds a host of a social event can be liable for any injuries caused by a drunk partygoer if they provided alcohol. Under this law, anyone who was injured by an intoxicated guest (even third parties) can bring a personal injury claim against the social host. Nevertheless, not every state has this type of law in their state. For instance, New York and California both have laws that explicitly say social hosts aren’t liable for actions taken by their intoxicated adult guests. States that do have social host liability laws have varying standards for holding a host liable.
Providing Minors with Alcohol
While some states will not find a social host liability if their intoxicated adult guest causes an injury to a third party, the opposite is true if a host provides booze to a person under the legal drinking age. If a person under 21 is provided alcohol and causes an injury, the host can be held financially liable for the actions of the underage drinker. The host can also face misdemeanor and criminal charges in all fifty states.
It may not be warm enough to have a pool party this Memorial Day, but what if you haven’t covered the pool? If someone falls into the pool and hits his head on the bottom, you better hope you have good insurance. The guest can sue you for the unsafe condition and resulting injury.
So before you offer to host this year’s Memorial Day BBQ, think about serving a variety of drinks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic, and protecting your guests from dangerous hazards on your property.