With St. Patrick's Day on the horizon, local businesses need to be smart about avoiding lawsuits.
Why would local businesses care about avoiding lawsuits on St. Patrick's Day? Think about it: When there are swarms of people drinking, there are bound to be a few unfortunate accidents.
So how can Boston business owners stay wise this weekend to avoid lawsuits? Here are a few tips:
- Be careful when serving alcohol. If you're in the business of operating a restaurant or bar, you may want to take extra care when serving anyone who appears to have had too much to drink. Under dram shop laws, a victim can sue an establishment serving alcohol, if his injury was caused by an intoxicated patron who was overserved at the establishment. However, the law does have a loophole. Under Massachusetts' dram shop law, the intoxicated person may not sue the seller of alcohol unless the conduct was willfull, wanton or reckless.
- Take care of your property. If you own a restaurant or are opening your home up for a St. Patty's Day bash, you need to pay close attention to anything that could cause issues for any intoxicated guests. This could mean fixing loose floorboards or taking care of low-hanging objects. Under the doctrine of premises liability, you could be on the hook for accidents that occur on your property.
- Don't drink and drive. Not only is this a crime, but it is a huge cause of property damage. The last thing you want is to get into a car accident. In a worst-case scenario, you could find yourself facing a wrongful death lawsuit and some time in jail. Even if nobody is injured, you could find yourself in the unfortunate situation of dealing with a fender-bender, which can be a huge headache.
This St. Patty's Day, play it safe. If you see someone drinking too much, don't give them more to drink.