How Bar Owners Can Prevent & Manage Frivolous Lawsuits

Posted on: January 27, 2021 by RMS Hospitality

It’s no secret that clients in the bar and tavern industry have to deal with the occasional belligerent drunk. While most bars across the country have shut down, as far as in-house services, some are still open in the wake of COVID-19. Regardless of whether a bar welcomes in-house patrons, clients in the industry always need to be aware of drunk customers to keep frivolous lawsuits from occurring.

From raised voices to fistfights to the unfortunate drunk driving incident, bars need to protect not only their customers but their business by detecting and reducing the risk of a claim.

Here are ways in which bar owners can prevent and manage frivolous lawsuits on account of drunk patrons.

Know Dram Shop Laws and Understand Legal Liability

According to unique Dram shop laws in most states, bars are responsible for their overserved patrons. Penalties for overseeing can range from fines to liquor license suspension or loss. If drunk customers leave and hurt someone else or themselves, the bar owner could personally face criminal charges and expensive lawsuits.

Dram shop laws are rules for over-serving alcohol and vary by state. Bars need to become familiar with their state’s alcohol laws and how they relate to drunk customers. In general, state laws are starting to get tougher, laying down heavier fines on those responsible.

Have Thorough Team Training

Many states require all bar staff and managers to undergo third-party responsible server training. Even if states don’t require training, it’s still worth investing in professional training to detect and manage drunk customers that pose a potential threat to themselves, the bar, and those around them. What’s more, training may be a requirement for Sports Bar Insurance Program coverage, which protects clients in the industry from such lawsuits.

What Not to Do

There are certain things that bar owners and their staff should not do when trying to keep the peace. Someone under the influence might react negatively, lashing out at whoever confronts them.

First, staff can choose to ignore the customer when they ask for another drink. However, this might backfire by the customer getting offended and angry by neglect or by moving onto another bartender to make their request.

Staff needs to refrain from serving, no matter how much someone is pleading for another drink. If they do get upset, security needs to be called to step in.

Also, it might be tempting to shout back at them if they become upset. Staff and ownership need to refrain from this as staying calm can help to quell potential further aggression. No matter how angry someone is, they should remain calm and courteous.

As a last resort, if no one of these steps is working, staff and ownership need to reach out to the police. The customer should then move outside so the police can monitor the customer away from the other patrons and off of company property.

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 experts today at (888) 359-8390.

Posted in: Sports Bar Insurance

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At RMS and associated firms, business continues as usual. Our staff is remote-capable and available to handle all partners, brokers, and insureds at the present time. Contact us today!