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Commercial Host Liability Laws

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What Is Commercial Host Liability?

Commercial host liability describes instances where establishments that serve alcohol for profit, such as restaurants, nightclubs, and bars, may be liable for damages caused by their drunken customers. Commercial hosts who serve customers that are obviously drunk may be considered to have directly contributed to accidents or crimes such as:

Commercial servers of alcohol can also be liable for any damage caused by a minor who was served alcohol illegally.

How Can Businesses Protect Themselves from Commercial Host Liability?

While alcohol and liquor liability laws vary by state, there are a few steps that business owners can take to reduce their potential liability. These include:

  • Purchasing liability insurance
  • Hiring trained or certified bartenders
  • Refusing entrance or service to customers who are visibly drunk
  • Tightly regulating the amount of liquor served in drinks
  • Establishing clear policies and procedures to prevent over-serving

Can a Lawyer Help Protect My Business?

Specific commercial host liability laws vary by state. If you want to protect your business from commercial host liability lawsuits, a business attorney may be able help you choose an insurance policy and operating procedure that best protects your business. Similarly, if a lawsuit concerning commercial host liability has been brought against you, a lawyer can advise you of your rights and legal defenses.

Photo of page author Matthew Izzi

, LegalMatch Legal Writer and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 09-03-2014 11:27 AM PDT

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