When your bar, restaurant, or other establishment serves alcohol to patrons, you take on some legal responsibility for their actions. If someone is injured or killed in an accident, fight, or other event due to alcohol, your business could be sued for damages. If your business serves alcohol in Massachusetts, you need liquor liability insurance for protection.
As of 2010, any Massachusetts business requesting a liquor license must first present proof of liquor liability insurance. The state requires that these policies cover a minimum of $250,000 for 1 person, and $500,000 for multiple injuries from the same event. This mandatory coverage helps protect both businesses and patrons when injuries or death results from the consumption of alcohol.
MA, like most other states in the country, has “Dram Shop” laws. These apply to any restaurant, bar, liquor store, or other business that sells or serves alcohol. If you are found to have served a customer who is obviously intoxicated and that person goes on to injure or kill another person, you are legally liable for the damages.
Liquor liability policies cover many of the costs associated with lawsuits due to alcohol consumption. Policies may cover damages for injuries and deaths from incidents including:
For complete protection, most agents recommend making sure your policy has:
While your liquor liability policy will cover many situations that may arise, not everything will be covered. Damages to your own property are typically excluded from policy coverage, but may be covered under your property insurance policy. Slander, libel, and similar claims are also not covered.
Underage drinking is illegal, and it is the responsibility of your business to check IDs before serving alcohol to ensure that your patrons are of legal age. If damages occur due to an underage patron in your establishment, your liquor liability policy will not cover these claims.
Establishments that serve alcohol are expected to encourage responsible drinking for their patrons. If you serve alcohol to an already intoxicated person and they get into a fight, driving accident, or otherwise harm another person, you can be held legally liable for personal injuries and other damages. Massachusetts requires all businesses that serve or sell alcohol to hold liquor liability insurance. This important coverage can protect your business from financial harm when an inebriated patron causes injuries, deaths, or other damages after being served at your establishment.