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Tavern and Bar Liability



Tavern and bar owners, including any person or organization who sells alcohol, owe a duty to their patrons and others invited on their premises to see to it that alcohol is not over-served and to keep people on their premises safe from acts of aggression and violence.


Servers must be trained by establishments licenced to sell alcohol to be aware of the level of intoxication and/or impairment or tendency towards aggression of patrons.  Such an establishment may be held liable if a customer leaves the bar in an obviously impaired state after being served, and either injures himself or herself in an accident (automobile or otherwise) or injures an innocent third party.


Any establishment, including bars and taverns, that are licenced to serve alcohol in British Columbia must comply with the Liquor Control and Licencing Act.   Additionally, all employees at these establishments must be certified.


When a bar or tavern sells alcohol to someone who is already demonstrably impaired and that impaired person later causes injury to others or even on themselves, e.g. through a physical altercation or from an impaired driving accident, the law provides that the bar or tavern will be liable for injuries that the patron causes to another or themselves.


Bars and taverns are required to keep their buildings and general premises reasonably safe.  Injuries to a patron arising from unsafe premises may give rise to damages payable by the establishment.  Liability may also arise where management employ insufficient, negligent or incompetent security and an assault occurs as a result, or their security uses excessive force against a patron, or they have inadequate building code violations such as poor lighting.


Finally, establishments who use excessive or unreasonable force to handle or eject patrons may also be held liable for any injuries suffered.


If you have been involved in a collision with a drunk driver or altercation with an impaired individual and are unsure as to whether a bar or tavern might share liability for your injuries, please contact us today for a free consultation.

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