Commercial Host Liability: How to Keep the Holidays Safe
During the holidays, more people are spreading the cheer at holiday staff parties, family events, and outings with friends.
But that also means an increase in commercial host liability claims and personal injury on private property.
There’s something so festive about getting together at a restaurant, surrounded by warm holiday scents and decorations. Indulging is what the holidays are all about. But sometimes, people can get carried away with alcohol.
It’s a restaurant’s job to make sure that holiday cheer doesn’t result in injury, or even death.
When you go out to a bar or restaurant, you’re putting your safety in the hands of the staff. Personal injury on private property is serious and those responsible need to be held liable.
It’s the establishment’s responsibility to make sure that their patrons don’t make a fatal mistake.
If you’re injured in a car accident because of someone else’s negligence, it’s time to take action. This holiday season, it’s important to understand your options.
What is Commercial Host Liability?
Bars and restaurants owe a duty of care to their patrons. This means making sure that someone who has been drinking gets home safely, without putting others at risk.
If someone leaves a bar drunk, drives home, and gets in an accident, the bar can be held responsible.
Commercial host liability falls under the umbrella category of negligence. This generally applies to anyone who doesn’t meet their duty of care to another person or party.
Other names for commercial host liability include tavern liability, liquor liability, and bar host liability.
There are two main ways an establishment can be held negligent and liable in this situation:
- Not making sure the patron has a safe way home. This includes calling a taxi or finding another way home for them.
- Over serving the patron to the point of intoxication.
Even if the bar isn’t fully liable, it can still be liable for a portion of the liability for an accident.
Commercial Host vs. Social Host
There’s a difference between a commercial host and a social host.
A social host is someone who provides alcohol without earning a profit. This also generally occurs in their own home or private residence.
Meanwhile, a commercial host is someone who sells alcohol for a financial profit. Usually, this is done at a commercial establishment or business.
Social host liability is a little more complicated. There are different rules and stipulations when it comes to personal injury on private property.
There aren’t any clear, black and white statutes or regulations. However, there are newer laws in place as of recent years that put more responsibility on the social host for providing that duty of care to their guests.
Commercial host liability is much more defined and clear. That’s because the Liquor License Act outlines very specific rules and regulations.
It’s much easier for an establishment to be accountable for drunk patrons’ accidents. Especially when it comes to accidents that happen when someone leaves a bar or restaurant.
Ontario Smart Serve Laws
In Ontario, anyone serving alcohol commercially needs to have their Smart Serve certification.
Ontario Smart Serve outlines the rules and regulations servers have to follow on the premises. Everyone who goes through this training understands the Ontario Liquor License Act and what their responsibilities are.
When a server undergoes Smart Serve certification, they are trained to identify a drunk person. Warning signs are also important to know. This is included in the training.
Servers have a responsibility to stop serving anyone who is reaching the point of intoxication. They’re also responsible for preventing those intoxicated patrons from driving drunk.
If they don’t do either of those things, they’re responsible for any resulting accidents or damage.
What About my Company Party?
When you attend a company holiday party, the establishment needs to have liability insurance in place. Some companies or employers also provide their employees with company policies that determine the specific regulations in these situations.
Liability insurance for events covers the social host in most commercial situations. So if your employer hosts the party as a special event at a bar or restaurant, the venue is liable.
However, the trouble is if they host the party at an office, or other non-licensed workplace. If there’s an accident, the employer is liable. There can also be serious repercussions for the company with regard to their commercial insurance.
If a drunk driver leaves an office holiday party and hurts you, their employer is liable.
What to do When You Suffer From an Establishment’s Negligence
There are a variety of situations for which you could hold an establishment liable for accidents.
If a drunk driver hits you leaving a bar or restaurant, that establishment is liable for your injuries.
The staff that served the person who hit you should have taken the proper procedures to avoid the situation. When you file a commercial host liability claim, they’ll have to prove they followed those procedures.
Commercial host liability claims fall under the Ontario Liquor License Act. Under this statute they can face charges. If they don’t comply, they could risk losing their liquor license entirely.
Most of the time, you’ll file a third party claim against the establishment to hold them responsible. Talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer to make sure you have everything you need to successfully sue.
Conte & Associates Will Get You the Support You Need
When you’re suffering at the hands of someone else’s reckless mistake, you need Conte & Associates by your side. We’ll fight aggressively for you to get you the settlement you deserve.
Accidents can change your life, but Conte can change the outcome. Our experienced staff will make sure you get the resources and compensation you need to start your recovery.
Don’t hesitate. When it comes to personal injury on private property, we’re on your side.
Contact us today for your free consultation. We’ll get your life back on track.