It does not matter whether you own a bar, restaurant, nightclub or simply entertaining a few friends and family in your home during a holiday, you are faced with lots of responsibility when you are serving other people alcohol in your home or place or business, reason you are advised to seek for the advise of an alcoholic beverage commission lawyer or anyone similar. If you serve alcohol irresponsibly, you can see an increase in your property insurance rates, lose your reputation in the community, face lawsuits or even have a fatality.
What Is Dram Shop Liability?
A place of business is referred to a dram shop if it sells alcoholic beverages. The dram shop act allows one party to sue another party if the second party served alcohol to the first party and they become injured. The second party can become liable if it was evident that the first party was already intoxicated when the additional alcohol was served. The person who was intoxicated must have prominent cause of the damages they suffered.
However, in some states, the dram shop act contains a provision that is known as the safe harbor provision. This provision allows providers of alcoholic beverages to be exempt from liability. For example, in the state of Texas, alcoholic beverage providers and their employees will have to attend server/seller training course that is provided by the state.
By attending this course, TABC license holders will be protected by a “shield” that covers their actions. The actions are covered as long as an employer has not directly or indirectly encouraged an employee to over serve a patron.
Alcohol Serving At Home
Usually, those who serve alcohol in the privacy of their homes in social settings are not subject to common law duty of not serving alcohol to intoxicated guests. The courts understand that private homeowners do not have the training or skill set to determine when guests have had too much alcohol. However, courts do recognize that private hosts are responsible for making sure that minors under the legal drinking age do not consume alcohol. There have been several cases where social hosts have been held liable for injuries and damages that have occurred as a result of minors drinking while in their homes.
How To Avoid A Lawsuit
There are several things that you can do to avoid being held liable for injuries or damage resulting from over served patrons including:
• Consult with an attorney who specializes in alcohol beverage industry law
• Develop a designated driver program
• Remain level headed at all times
Your patrons are looking for a reason to celebrate. However, be sure they do so safely to minimize your liability.