Sports Bar Fights: Liability and Prevention

With college football and the NFL in full swing, and new seasons of the NHL and the NBA underway, sports bars can count on a consistent customer base coming in through the winter at the very least. But with good business and full houses, especially on game night, the potential for arguments and bar fights among patrons rises.

Bar owners can only do so much to curb or prevent these fights from taking place when they’re overseeing their establishment. So, how can sports bars prevent these fights from happening and foster an environment of safety for everyone else trying to enjoy the game and a drink?

Liquid Liabilities

Sports bars are great places to watch the game with some friends or unwind for a happy hour following a long day at the office. But since alcohol is present and emotions around a major game may be as well, some people feel compelled to engage in an argument or physical altercation if it escalates to that point.

This not only puts the people engaged in the fight in harm’s way but others around them who are not connected to the matter at hand. If someone not connected to a fight taking place becomes injured in some way (i.e. a broken bottle catches them, they catch a punch on the chin) they could turn around and put the liability on the establishment itself.

Sports bars also have to be prepared for fights having more effect than just two or three people raising their voices or fists. Fights could spread behind the bar or involve furniture or signage. Essentially everything in sports bars could become a weapon or get broken, creating a whole host of possible injuries, like slips and falls or cuts.

Preventing Fights at Sports Bars

Sports bars can install a number of preventative measures to keep their guests from engaging in a fight or to deescalate a situation if it’s already occurring.

Sports bars can first educate and delegate responsibilities to employees when it comes to how to handle a fight. If there are two or three patrons showing aggression toward one another, nearby staff should either try to calm the guests or inform a manager of the issue taking place. Staff should know who to contact and what to report when a fight seems to be imminent so multiple hands can be on deck to scale things back.

Next, sports bars can install security staff members, especially during certain events like Final Four college basketball or major UFC fights where business will be increased. Security staff members should be able to get involved if a fight takes place, separating the patrons involved.

Cameras and security equipment can also aid in helping out if a fight looks to be forming. Properly placed cameras can be the eyes in the skies, keeping an eye on all angles of an establishment and upping the level of transparency.

Finally, sports bars can invest in insurance for sports bars and taverns. While this isn’t a preventative measure, it does help to have specifically designed insurance in place to not only pick up the pieces after a fight takes place but protect sports bars from sustaining major liability claims related to a fight. If someone is injured in an establishment, whether they were directly involved in a fight or not, they can file a claim that a bar was responsible.

About American Team Managers Insurance Services

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