Add this one to the list of frivolous lawsuits, a New Jersey man filed a lawsuit against at New York bar called Wicked Willy’s over injuries he suffered following a 3 1/2 beer pong game. The man was struck by a car going 50-mph while trying to cross a highway in New Jersey after leaving the bar.
According to the man’s lawyer, he suffered numerous injuries, including a broken hip, leg and foot, tears in both his knees, and a lacerated liver. When the man’s blood was checked at the hospital four hours after the accident, his blood alcohol content was .26, which is almost four times higher than the legal driving limit.
The man claimed the bar should have been monitoring the game to make sure players weren’t getting visibly drunk, however, a New York judge has thrown out the lawsuit against the pub. The judge ruled the man voluntarily signed up for the beer-drinking game and couldn’t sue Wicked Willy as a result. The judge said the man “consumed alcohol to the point of diminished capacity.”
The New York Post says his lawyer will ask the judge to reconsider the ruling.
This is a reminder that if you sell or serve liquor in any capacity, you need to carry liquor liability coverage, not only for legitimate lawsuits, but for frivolous claims which may need to be defended in the court of law. Hiring attorney’s isn’t cheap.
For more details on the story, see this article from the New York Post
In a story reported last month, a 73-year-old Florida man got a ticket from police after he was hit by a car while riding his scooter home from a bar. Now, he claims the bar is to blame for selling him too many drinks, and he wants the bar to pay.
John Wasko of Manatee, FL filed a lawsuit against The Oasis Bar, saying the bar should have stopped giving him drinks. He’s seeking more than $15,000 in compensation. Ironically, Wasko was not booked for a DUI, but was ticketed for riding in front of a vehicle. Rough night! This happened in January, but Wasko waited 9 months to file suit.
After the accident, Wasko was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, but he blamed the injuries on the bar’s failure to know when to stop selling him drinks. His lawsuit claims the servers were not trained well enough to know his condition and when to stop selling him drinks.
What does this have to do with insurance?
Businesses that sell and serve liquor need liquor liability insurance for alcohol related claims. A general liability insurance policy does not provide coverage for these scenarios. Liquor liability insurance is a form of commercial insurance that protects businesses against loss or damages claimed as a result of a patron becoming intoxicated and injuring themselves or others. It provides coverage for bodily injury or property damage resulting from:
- Causing or contributing to the intoxication of any person;
- Furnishing alcoholic beverages to a person under the legal drinking age or under the influence of alcohol; or
- Violating any statute, ordinance, or regulation relating to the sale, gift, distribution, or use of alcoholic beverages
Liquor liability insurance coverage will reimburse your company against the costs of defending a lawsuit in court, even if a claim is groundless or fraudulent.
This story is just a random example of a liquor liability claim. As you can imagine, they happen all the time because people generally make dumb decisions when they’re drinking. Funny thing is they rarely seem to think they’re fault when they get into trouble. Make sure you are covered adequately if someone blames you for over-serving them!