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Who Is Liable for Accidents at Work Holiday Parties?


Work holiday parties are a staple for the most wonderful time of year. While these events are a great time to connect with coworkers and celebrate the success of the year, there is also a risk of injury. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, however, many of these gatherings may be canceled this year in order to reduce the spread of the disease.

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recently released a list of holiday guidelines for low-risk celebrations. With that said, if you are attending a low-risk celebration this year or whether you plan on attending one at some point in the future, you should know your rights if an injury does happen at a company-sponsored event.

Work Parties, Accidents, and Liability

As with any type of party or celebratory gathering, there are many potential hazards that can lead to accidents and injuries, such as:

  • Slip and falls
  • Sports injuries
  • Alcohol-related accidents
  • Food poisoning

In most cases of holiday work parties, employees are not working or performing their specific job duties at or for the benefit of the function. As such, the employee would not be acting in their “scope of employment,” therefore be unentitled to pursue workers’ compensation benefits.

However, they may have other options for pursuing compensation. If a worker is injured at a company-sponsored holiday party, they may be able to file a lawsuit against a liable party. Determining liability in such cases will depend on a multitude of factors, including how the accident occurred, the type of injuries suffered, and what duty of care was owed and to whom. Here are a few examples:

  • If a worker suffered food poisoning, the maker or distributor of the food may be liable
  • If the party was at an off-site location and a worker suffered a slip and fall, the property owner may be liable
  • If the worker caused a drunk driving accident after being served alcohol at an off-site location, such as a bar or restaurant, the establishment may be held liable under Texas’ dram shop laws

Understanding negligence and liability after a holiday work party can be complicated. At the Law Offices of Vic Feazell, our dedicated legal team is ready to provide you with the guidance and legal representation you need to recover physically and financially.

Contact our Waco personal injury attorneys at to speak with our legal team for free today.