|Host Liquor Liability |
|Host Liquor Liability | Liquor License|
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Host liquor liability is a hot topic nowadays. In college towns they are especially monitored. With college age kids being under a state's legal age of 21 years, more and more bar owners are getting adamant about checking IDs. Beyond the commercial bar, though, is the individual who is being held liable for accidents when hosting something as innocuous (or one would think, innocuous) as a holiday party.
Most laws are holding that the owner, operator or individual host that is selling or serving alcohol at an establishment or function is liable for injuries caused by or to any individual that has consumed the alcohol. In many cases, this is a case of litigants seeking the deepest pockets. Not that there is not a reason for the injured to do this, by any means. If a person is harmed due to someone else's activity which is precluded by law, they should be held responsible. But the litigious society in which we live finds more and more ways to hold others responsible for their own actions.
That being said, it is important for those hosting parties and serving liquor to behave responsibly as well. Since the hosts were not doing so, the host liquor liability laws came into being. As with anything in society, if you choose not to protect your patrons, the law will make you bear the burden of their misfortune. If the owner or operator can be established as the one causing the intoxication, the causal legal action exists for the harmed party, either directly or indirectly, to charge the host with any resulting damages. This exposure is brought upon the host by his or her willful action in serving alcoholic beverages to a person who is noticeable intoxicated. Although it is understood that the host cannot read the patron's mind, if there is evidence that the person is beyond cognitive and thoughtful reason, it behooves the host to no longer serve alcohol to the patron or guest.
A commercial enterprise, such as a bar or saloon, carries a general commercial liability policy which stands to protect them in these cases. But numerous infractions can bring with it other ramifications, including, but not limited to, the insurance company cancelling its coverage for future claims and the loss of a state liquor license.
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