When Are Business Owners Responsible for the Actions of Drunk Patrons?

Do you own a business that regularly serves alcohol? As many business owners are aware, Colorado law prohibits serving alcohol to intoxicated or underage patrons. In many cases, owners and managers must depend on staff to understand and abide by these laws. It is important that business owners ensure their staff knows when to stop serving patrons alcohol, not just for the benefit of public safety, but also to avoid liability.

Let’s use an illustrative and hypothetical example to explore this concept further.

A local Denver restaurant and sports bar is packed during the World Series. Patrons are buying drinks and ordering food in massive quantities. One patron in particular is a regular, the type of person who spends one too many afternoons firmly planted on a chair with a drink in hand. Not wanting to offend a big spender and regular, the waitress pours this patron several drinks over the course of an hour, even though they are growing increasingly intoxicated. The patron is slurring words, stumbling to the bathroom and acting erratically. This person later leaves the bar, gets behind the wheel, and causes a fatal drunk driving accident.

Can Colorado Businesses Help Prevent Drunk Driving Accidents?

Most business owners and managers are aware of liability in these cases. However, workers may not be aware. It is important for business owners to make sure staff are aware of the potential liability involved in overserving clearly intoxicated or underage patrons. Colorado establishments that serve alcohol can require staff to participate in training courses designed to help avoid situations like the one described above. In fact, the Colorado Department of Revenue has a list of training programs on its website.

Businesses can be on the hook for helping pay the medical bills or other expenses of accident victims hurt by their patrons, so it is important to help prevent drunk driving accidents.

Metier Law Firm is a Wyoming and Colorado personal injury law office with decades of experience helping the victims of drunk driving accidents.

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