St. Patrick’s Day and Commercial Host Liability

On St. Patrick’s Day, more people than usual are out at bars, pubs and taverns celebrating with friends.  Typically, the celebration will involve drinking and, sometimes, over-consumption.  This could mean an increase in commercial host liability claims.

Despite the occasion, a bar, pub, tavern or restaurant must ensure that your time there doesn’t result in injury, or even death, to you or to anyone else.

When you go out to a pub, bar, tavern, or restaurant you are effectively putting your safety in the hands of the staff.   At that point, it is the responsibility of the establishment to make sure that their customers don’t put themselves – or others – in danger.

Bars, pubs, taverns and restaurants owe a duty of care to their customers. Generally, this means making sure that someone who has been drinking is safe while on their premises and gets home safely, without putting that person or others at risk.  For example, if someone leaves a bar drunk, drives home, and gets into an accident, the bar can be held legally responsible.

Commercial host liability falls under the umbrella category of “negligence”. Negligence generally applies to anyone who doesn’t meet their duty of care to another person or party.

There are two primary ways an establishment can be held negligent and liable in this type of situation:

1. Not making sure the patron has a safe way home, such as calling a taxi or finding another way home for them.

2. Over serving the patron to the point of intoxication.

Even if the establishment isn’t fully to blame, it can still be liable for a portion of the liability for an accident.

The Liquor License Act outlines very specific rules and regulations that apply to establishments that sell alcohol.  Thus, an establishment can be responsible for a drunk customer’s accident if a breach of the Act is proven, especially if an accident happens when someone leaves a bar or restaurant after getting intoxicated there and gets hurts or injures someone else.

If you choose to venture out to celebrate on St. Patrick’s Day, please be sure to enjoy your time responsibly and may the luck of the Irish be with you!

Our Personal Injury Lawyers in Ottawa can help you with your Personal Injury Claim.