New Year’s Eve represents a great time for people to come together and celebrate a great year or to look forward to a new one. From private parties to big bashes, talking over resolutions or toasting to new beginnings, New Year’s Eve is different for everyone. But for bars and restaurants, the holiday can seem the same, at least in one way: facing a number of insurance risks.
The holiday attracts crowds of people to head to their favorite bar or maybe participate in a bar crawl to finish the year off. That being said, this opens the door for plenty of insurance claims that could be filed against bars for being responsible for their patrons. Let’s look at some of those risks.
Bars, The Law and Insurance
Throughout the country, courts hold bars and nightclubs to a high legal duty of obligation to do what they can to curtail risks among their patrons, cutting away as much harm as possible. When this fails to happen, a customer can turn around and take legal action against the establishment in question.
This is called foreseeable harm, which illustrates that bar and nightclubs owners, along with their staff, should know their actions or omissions may result in injuries to patrons. Not every risk can be foreseen, however, which creates a case-by-case basis for responsibility as seen by the courts.
With this in mind, it’s important for business owners to cover their legal responsibilities, assets and reputations by investing in bar and nightclub insurance. Having bar insurance set will protect establishments in the event actual legal issues arise, which can be financial draining. Operating without bar and nightclub insurance, especially around holidays, can be harmful to businesses.
When it comes to specific risks, most have to do with the effect of alcohol. Yes, New Year’s Eve is a great time to drink together with friends and family in celebration, but it can also pose a huge risk in terms of safety. The major risk that can be noted is drunken driving and the aftermath that comes with it.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) notes that while it’s a holiday connected with sharing a celebratory toast, New Year’s Eve ranks seventh on the list of holidays that see drunk driving. Even still, this doesn’t take away from the fact that bars and nightclubs can be held responsible in the event of an accident. This is because most states have what are called dram shop laws, which bring liability to bars and nightclubs for injuries or fatalities caused by intoxicated individuals who were served, or over-served, at a bar.
Some people will do what they can to get to a bar or nightclub and celebrate with friends, even if they are underage. While no one wants to be left out of a group party because of their age, they pose a major risk for the bars or nightclubs they go to. These establishments have to be extra diligent on NYE to check for I.D.’s and make sure all patrons are above the legal age to get in. Serving minors alcohol can shut down a bar or nightclub, or at least pose major financial risk if this is breached.
From end of the year drink specials and champagne toasts swirling around, some people may have a couple too many drinks, and depending on who it is, over-serving may have a different effect. Some people are more friendly and some people are more aggressive when they drink. Either way, this could lead to major fights in your establishment.
If someone is more friendly when they drink, they could feel encouraged to hug or talk to or share a New Year’s kiss with someone who doesn’t want that from them. This could result in a physical altercation. On the other hand, if someone feels the need to take out their end of the year stress on another patron or patrons through fighting, this could create an even bigger risk as it could include a lot of patrons.
Regardless, bars and nightclubs need to be ready for this by keeping an eye on rowdy or too-friendly guests and also bring on extra security to keep an eye on the crowds. Having the right amount of extra security on duty–which can be contracted out through an event security company–will help to alleviate extra risks when it comes to holidays.
About RMS Hospitality Group
At RMS Hospitality Group, our expertly crafted policies are written specifically for the hospitality industry. We offer custom tailored solutions to meet any venue’s specific needs. For more information, contact our knowledgeable experts today at (888) 359-8390.
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