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Liquor liability insurance is business coverage that protects your business against loss or damages claimed as a result of a patron of your business becoming intoxicated and injuring himself or others. If your business manufactures, sells, serves or facilitates the use or purchase of alcohol, then your business will likely need this coverage. Liquor liability coverage may be sold as an add-on to a commercial liability policy or as a stand-alone policy. But, if you do not purchase this extra coverage, your standard commercial general liability policy does not protect your business against liquor-related claims.
Good liability risk management can reduce the chances that your business will be sued, but it can never eliminate the risk entirely. You or a member of your organization can make a mistake that injures someone or damages property. Your mistake could harm the reputation or interfere with the privacy of a customer, client, competitor or member of the general public. When such injuries occur, you may be legally liable to pay damages to someone who suffers a loss due to your actions or inaction.
Depending on the degree of harm and the number of people injured and/or value of property damaged, a lawsuit could bankrupt your business. Even if your organization is ultimately cleared of any wrongdoing, a determined plaintiff can keep you tied up in legal proceedings for a long time, entailing significant cost to defend yourself. Liability insurance pays the cost of your defense and protects your assets.
Everyone in society has a duty to take reasonable care that his or her actions do not injure others. The same rule applies to business entities. Not repairing a pothole in a parking lot, not lighting a dark stairway, failing to train workers how to do their jobs safely and legally or failing to provide directions for the safe use of a product can constitute negligence if a client, customer or member of the general public is injured as a result. The legal meaning of negligence is failure to exercise reasonable care.
If the parties do not agree to settle a liability lawsuit, there may be a trial. Or, the parties may agree to use some alternative means of dispute resolution, such as arbitration, and be bound by the arbitrator’s ruling.
The law of the state where the lawsuit is filed sets the rules for the determination of liability and damages. The amount of damages imposed in any particular case is, of course, in part a function of the economic losses the plaintiff can prove he or she has endured due to the defendant’s negligence. In some states plaintiffs may also be awarded damages for