Imagine a fun party atmosphere, guests happily socializing, and incredible food being served throughout the venue. You are responsible for the alcohol service at the event and have your mixology down to perfection. On your way home from such a successful event, you come to find out that one of the patrons you served was in a car accident. As a result, they were paralyzed and suffered severe lifelong injuries. They sue for negligent service and want to take you to court.
That is an extreme yet very possible scenario. You could be held liable and have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars just for doing your job. However, there are ways to decrease your risk of liquor liability insurance claims as a bartender or caterer.
Enroll In Alcohol Training Programs
The key is to always be open to gaining knowledge. In this industry, it is important to have up-to-date information when you are serving alcohol to hundreds or even thousands of patrons in any given year.
Here are a few training programs you can look into:
- Training For Intervention Procedures (TIPS): This is a skills-based training program that is structured to prevent intoxication, underage alcohol consumption, and driving under the influence of alcohol.
- Techniques of Alcohol Management (TAM): This online course is designed to handle several complex situations that you may face while serving alcohol to patrons.
Learn How To Prevent Intoxication Among Patrons
- Encourage patrons to order something to eat with their alcoholic drink. This technique is known to slow the process of alcohol absorption.
- You could only allow one drink per person.
- Ensure there is always an employee at the bar station. You don’t want to deal with patrons over-serving themselves and/or running out of alcohol at the event.
- Encourage safe alcohol consumption by placing table tents or placards stating to drink responsibly.
- Offer non-alcoholic beverages such as soda, juice, and sparkling water.
Always Ask For Valid ID Before Serving Alcohol
It may seem like a hassle to ask every patron for a valid form of ID, but it’s an important practice every bartender and caterer should ask for. Yes, we are sure you will interact with people who are clearly old enough to drink. However, do your due diligence and make it a habit to ask every patron for a form of ID. You might as well be safe than sorry in the scheme of things.
It only takes one poor decision, such as failing to ask for valid ID while you are on the job that could potentially land you in a court of law.
For example, a bartender failed to ask for a valid form of ID and served alcohol to an underage patron. When the underage patron left the event, they got into their vehicle and completely lost control while driving. The patron struck a telephone pole and suffered detrimental facial lacerations due to the accident. The bartender was sued for illegally serving alcohol to a minor and faced $150,000 in legal bills.
Be Proactive With Liquor Liability Insurance
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that “In 2017, 10,874 people died in drunk driving crashes – one every 48 minutes – and more than 300,000 were injured in drunk driving crashes,” It’s hard to believe how incredibly high those statistics are and how much responsibility serving alcohol can entail. Even though there are some states that have prohibited third-party lawsuits claiming that they were overserved, you still have to deal with the cost of defending yourself and the legal fees alone could ruin your business.
As a bartender or caterer, you have the opportunity to be a part of a wide array of events and meet people from all walks of life. In this industry, it’s important to be well-versed on how you can decrease your liquor liability claims and decrease your chances of ending up in court. From enrolling in courses to implementing techniques to decrease intoxication, you can help patrons drink responsibly on your watch.