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Different Types of Liability in a Restaurant or Bar

Running or owning a restaurant can be a really fun experience. It can also take up a lot of your time and require your full responsibility. Not only for your actions, but the actions of others.  If you run a restaurant or plan to buy one in the future here are a few liabilities you will want to consider.

Different Types of Liability in a Restaurant or Bar


One of the most common types of liability in a bar or restaurant are those that revolve around DUIs.  Somewhere around 30% of the traffic fatalities that happen each year are due to DUIs.  But, don’t think that regular automobiles like cars and trucks are the only thing to look out for.  If you have an establishment, for example, in the mountains that allows snowmobile drivers or people on ski-lifts to get off and come in your restaurant, these people are also a liability.

Make sure that you purchase a Liquor Liability Policy if you plan on having liquor or alcohol in your establishment.

Activity Hazards

At first thought, you might not be able to think of any activity hazards that might happen in your establishment. But, here are a few to get your brain moving:

– Mechanical Bulls
– Falling from Chairs
– Bar Fights
– Burns from the bartenders flaming alcohol trick
– Making bananas foster or other food items in front of tables

These hazards aren’t just for your patrons either. They cover your employees as well.  In order to properly be covered for Activity Hazards in your establishment, you need to write down exactly the types of risks involved and put them on your insurance application so that the agent can give you the right amount and type of coverage.

Missing Exit Zone

If you do not have an exit zone in your establishment OR you do but the light on the sign is broken or out, you could be asking to get sued not only by anyone in your establishment that might get hurt because of an emergency, but  family members of anyone who is killed in the event of an emergency.  This light should always be on and should never be blocked.

Flammable Decorations

In the same way, you need to recognize possible injury for activity hazards, you also need to recognize the possibility of flammable decorations and injuries as well.  Burns are painful, but they also can disfigure a person so not only would you be paying for an individual’s medical treatment, but also pain and suffering which can be incredibly high.

Decorations such as Tiki torches are a great example of flammable decorations.  They look great, they might add to the atmosphere or theme of your establishment, but is that really worth possibly injuring someone and then, in turn, getting sued for it?

Probably not.  Tiki torches aren’t the only flammable decorations, so are outdoor heaters, fireplaces, Chinese lanterns, etc.

When looking for insurance for your establishment, make sure they have loss control inspections.  This enables a Risk Management professional to come in and tell you which areas or processes in your building might be problematic.

Essentially they are your go-to person for figuring out what items, activities, or even food items in your establishment carry the most risk.  (i.e., a mechanical bull.  It may seem like a fun thing to put into a bar, but without the proper insurance and proper forms for your patrons to sign, you could be in big trouble if someone gets injured.)

Free Consultation with a Utah Business Lawyer

If you are here, you probably have a business law issue you need help with, call Ascent Law for your free business law consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

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About the Author

People who want a lot of Bull go to a Butcher. People who want results navigating a complex legal field go to a Lawyer that they can trust. That’s where I come in. I am Michael Anderson, an Attorney in the Salt Lake area focusing on the needs of the Average Joe wanting a better life for him and his family. I’m the Lawyer you can trust. I grew up in Utah and love it here. I am a Father to three, a Husband to one, and an Entrepreneur. I understand the feelings of joy each of those roles bring, and I understand the feeling of disappointment, fear, and regret when things go wrong. I attended the University of Utah where I received a B.A. degree in 2010 and a J.D. in 2014. I have focused my practice in Wills, Trusts, Real Estate, and Business Law. I love the thrill of helping clients secure their future, leaving a real legacy to their children. Unfortunately when problems arise with families. I also practice Family Law, with a focus on keeping relationships between the soon to be Ex’s civil for the benefit of their children and allowing both to walk away quickly with their heads held high. Before you worry too much about losing everything that you have worked for, before you permit yourself to be bullied by your soon to be ex, before you shed one more tear in silence, call me. I’m the Lawyer you can trust.