Offering products that intoxicate or disorient people typically comes with risks and potential downsides. This article will let you know why bar owners are sued, give you reasons restaurant owners are sued, and educate you on bar owner liability for drunk driving.
It is common to see misdemeanors in a bar whether someone is overexcited or another is disoriented. Displays of various kinds are not uncommon. It is not unusual to see a naturally reserved person up ranting and or acting out in ways that are very uncharacteristic for them. The man limping will dare you to a 100m sprint. With all this extra emotion and bravado, accidents and injuries become more commonplace. From slips, falls, and contamination, risk management strategies are a must for bar owners. The right bar insurance program is the first line of defense.
Slips and Falls
Being the most common reason for claims, slips, and falls can be easily prevented. To mitigate risk in court, bar owners should implement a written policy for how to handle these slips and falls. The policy should also include housekeeping instructions for reporting and cleaning spills, placing the proper warning signage, and a detailed look at the proper slip-resistant surfaces that can be utilized in a bar.
The other most common lawsuit filed against bar owners involves injuries that arise out of altercations with other patrons, especially when excessive alcohol consumption triggers such situations. The situation may turn worse for restaurant owners if two or more guests are asked to leave the premises because of a verbal altercation. With liquor added into the equation, implement a policy that restricts over-serving guests. While it’s impossible to know how much alcohol the patron has consumed before showing up, bartenders can easily gauge their coherence and make the call to cut them off if needed. If a fight breaks out, make sure that you have reasonable security and the bouncers are well-equipped to manage it, protect the other patrons, and show them out safely. Also, get the police involved so that any witnesses can explain what happened immediately, leaving no room for error.
Serving Liquor to a Minor or Intoxicated Person
An obviously intoxicated patron or minor is not deserving of another round. While a bar is no longer liable for serving excessive alcohol to a patron, you as a bar owner can still be liable for serving an obviously intoxicated patron or minor.
Unchecked Guest Behavior
This frequently happens at nightclubs and bars when there is a crowded dance floor where guests can become disruptive, often set off by a harmless brush. Written policies are the best way to protect a business owner in court. Employing enough staff to manage the crowds on busy nights is the next best option for preventing unruly patrons from starting fights.
Unforeseen Tragic Events
Extreme violence can break out anywhere, and sometimes no amount of security may be able to prevent these instances from happening. Tavern owners have greater liability when they don’t have adequate security on hand to protect their customers from the normal fights and altercations that regularly break out in drinking establishments, let alone heightened events.
Although lawsuits arising out of food poisoning and foreign substances are less frequent, make sure written materials regarding proper training and sanitation practices are followed. Ensure the establishment is compliant with health and sanitation requirements in the area. Document the guidelines being followed and be prepared to show that the location and staff have passed necessary inspections, if necessary. Controlling the quality and safety of the food served will minimize your exposure in these areas.
At RMS Insurance, our expertly crafted policies are written specifically for the retail community. We also offer custom-tailored solutions for bar owner liability for drunk driving. For more information, contact our experts today at (516) 742-8585.