Liquor Liability

Anyone involved in the serving of alcohol could be held liable for damages or injuries that occurred when alcohol is deemed to have been a contributing factor in the incident.

​You and your organization may be held responsible for the actions of others if people are served past the point of intoxication while attending a special event. Speak with your insurance representative before you host an event where alcohol will be served to confirm that your organization is properly covered for liability exposure.

Legal Liability

Organizations are responsible for patrons when alcohol is served. Forms of liquor liability include:

  • Liability as a server. Servers are responsible if they serve alcoholic beverages to people past the point of intoxication.
  • Liability as an occupier. People, companies or any other organization that own, have possession of or have responsibility for premises are responsible, in certain circumstances, for protecting persons on their premises from preventable harm.
  • Liability as an employer. An employer may in certain circumstances be responsible for the care of employees who over consumed alcohol at an event, such as a staff party.
  • Liability as a sponsor of potentially dangerous activities. Risks from such activities increase when alcohol is served.  
  • Use of excessive force. Security personnel cannot use unnecessary or excessive force to manage intoxicated patrons.

Source: Compiled with Canadian Risk Intervention Inc.

How to Limit Alcohol Consumption

Follow these tips for managing liquor liability risks. Before you serve alco hol, consider the following:

  1. Host events at an off-site location. A restaurant, hotel, conference centre or bar who employ staff that are trained in the proper service of alcohol. Confirm that the host facility has appropriate insurance. 
  2. Ask people when they arrive if they are a designated driver. 
  3. Ensure that a variety of non-alcoholic beverages and food options are available.
  4. Focus on non-alcoholic beverages.
  5. Have cash or vouchers on hand for cabs 
  6. If space is limited in your own residence, reserve rooms in a nearby hotel for last-minute overnight guests 
  7. Keep watch and don't hesitate to ask for someone's keys if you are concerned about his or her ability to drive safely.

Host Liquor Liability Coverage: A Case Study