5 Ways to Protect Your Business from Liquor Liability

Liquor: alcohol, wine, and other spirits

If you own or operate any type of business where liquor is served or sold, then you could be held responsible for any injuries or accidents that may occur as a result of their intoxication. Even if your company is not involved with providing alcohol on a day-to-day basis but say you obtained a liquor license to serve alcohol at a special event, you can still be deemed responsible and held liable for subsequent actions of your guests. That’s why it is wise to take steps to reduce your risk from liquor liability and resulting lawsuits.

Five Ways to Reduce Your Risk from Liquor Liability

Regardless of whether you charge for alcoholic drinks or provide them free to guests at a special event, you need to protect yourself and your business from potential lawsuits as a contributing factor in harmful behaviour. Here are five ways to reduce your risk from liquor liability:

  1. Encourage Responsible Consumption: Whoever is serving alcohol should not continue to serve anyone who is showing signs of intoxication.
  2. Confirm Designated Drivers: Ask attendees if they are a designated driver, and if not, who is their designated driver?
  3. Provide Rides Home: You can hand out cash, taxi vouchers or pre-pay drivers to get your guests home safely. Consider this a small cost of doing business compared to the possible damages awarded in a lawsuit.
  4. Offer Non-alcoholic Drinks: Always provide non-alcoholic choices for your guests along with food too, which can help to slow down possible intoxication.
  5. Ask for ID: To be sure you are not serving anyone under-age, do not hesitate to ask for identification for those who appear to be younger than 30 for example, since it can be difficult to guess their age.

Check Your Insurance Coverage for Liquor Liability

In spite of your best efforts to avoid being sued for contributing to a liquor-related accident or injury, it is best to be prepared for the worst with a policy that includes liquor liability coverage. Depending on your business, you could be held responsible in the following circumstances:

  • As an employer where alcohol is provided or sold
  • As a server of alcohol
  • As a sponsor of activities that become considerably more risky when alcohol is also available

When was the last time you reviewed your insurance policy? If you’re like most people, you probably don’t look at your policy until you need to make a claim and that could be too late. For peace of mind, a quick call to your insurance expert will make sure you are properly protected from potential risks due to liquor liability.

Questions or Concerns About Liquor Liability?

If you have any questions or concerns about your risk regarding liquor liability, feel free to contact Sean McNamara at Mitchell and Whale Insurance Brokers at 1-800-731-2228 or email me at smcnamara@mitchellwhale.com. I specialize in commercial insurance and I’d be happy to talk with you.

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