Our litigious society has lead to an annual cost of $239 billion for the US economy from civil lawsuits, and restaurants are a common victim of these suits and claims. There are a variety of costly lawsuits that both guests and employees may file against restaurants, and it is crucial for restaurants to understand what they are and how they can be addressed and prevented.
Liability insurance for restaurants is an essential protection tool to keep the business afloat when a claim arises. It is important to take note of the top reasons restaurants get sued and what steps you can take to minimize the chance of these damaging occurrences.
1. Slip and Falls
According to the National Restaurant Association, the most common claim against restaurants is “slip and falls.” Establish proper training and policies to help lower your risk of being involved in this success threatening claim. Make one person responsible for conducting floor inspections and keep documentation of the policy and procedures regarding cleaning and inspections, including date and time. Also, implement regular bathroom inspections where water could produce a hazard. All mats and rugs should be commercial grade no-slip with edges that lie flat against the floor. Be sure to train your employees to remain vigilant when it comes to cleaning up spills and moving objects that are protruding onto regularly used pathways.
Altercations are another common reason for lawsuits against restaurants, particularly for ones serving alcohol. What is your policy for an inebriated guest and is your staff prepared to handle it? Knowing the steps to take before an altercation occurs can limit your liability and keep your guests and staff safe. A hands-off policy with a call into law enforcement is usually recommended if an unruly guest refuses to leave the premises.
Retaining written policies regarding your procedures in these instances and training employees accordingly can make all the difference. Determine how dram shop laws affect your location so you are fully aware of your liability for the negligent acts of an intoxicated patron. Discuss liability insurance for restaurants with an agent to stay up on your coverage requirements.
3. Food Poisoning
Food poisoning or foreign matter in food or beverages is another common reason for lawsuits. Putting written policies and procedures into effect will once again be a helpful tool. A training protocol should include a method for approving suppliers, inventory controls, safe food handling, hygiene practices, and cross-contamination protocol. Knowing your supply chain are smart efforts to ensure safe quality food to avoid this type of lawsuit. Food poisoning can be fatal and this type of lawsuit has lead to wrongful death claims.
Liability insurance for restaurants will be your ticket to protection if you find yourself in a lawsuit. Remember to keep your own counsel until you obtain a lawyer. Speaking to other people about the situation puts both of you in an untenable position that can lead to more harm. Never admit you are at fault until after speaking with an attorney and gather any potential evidence.
About Bozzuto & Co. Insurance Services, Inc.
Bozzuto & Company Insurance Services has provided business and personal insurance solutions to clients throughout California since its founding in 1981. Our experienced staff understands the unique needs that each person has when insuring their lives and their businesses, and we pride ourselves on our deeply personal customer service. We are happy to help you through every step of the insurance selection process. Contact us today at (800) 400-6394 to learn more about what we can do for you.