Posted May 3, 2021

Altercations can occur at any time and often without warning. You tried to protect your business by installing a security system. Can you be sure that investment will pay off when you really need it?

Consider this scenario: Two of your customers get into an altercation without warning. One of your employees breaks up the fight, and the police are called. The police interview all parties, review the security footage, and arrest the patron they believe to be the aggressor. They also take the security video as evidence.

A month later, you receive a letter from an attorney representing the arrested party for injuries sustained in the altercation. The letter is alleging that your employees did not do enough to protect the client and is also claiming the other patron involved was intoxicated.

You promptly notify your agent and submit a claim, even though you believe that you did everything right. The police have a copy of the video, which tells the full story. The claimant was arrested. How could you be held liable?

The first thing to point out is that the arrest, arising out of the altercation, is a criminal matter. The claim against your business is a civil matter. This will often cause issues in claims investigations.

When a criminal case is ongoing, the police or the prosecutor may be unwilling to release police reports, photographs, or the security video until the case has concluded. This can take months, and sometimes years, depriving your insurance carrier of critical information that could have been used to exonerate your business. Instead, the insurance company may be forced to settle the claim without proving your innocence.

Following these tips can help prevent this from happening to you!

  • Understand how your surveillance system works, including how to upload the video to: the Cloud, CDs, or flash drives.

  • Know how long your surveillance video is saved on the recording system.

  • After any event that could result in a claim, no matter how innocent it may seem, save a copy of the video right away. Don't let it get recorded over!

  • Never assume you or your insurance company will be able to obtain the video once it has been turned over to the police.

Finally, if an incident occurs at your premises, promptly report it to your agent or to ICC, even if you think you are not at fault or a claim will never be presented. We can investigate the claim without ever contacting the claimant. This can be beneficial as attorneys often delay providing notice of a claim until the statute of limitations is about to expire. The longer they wait, the better the chance that evidence that can prove your innocence, such as your video recording, is no longer available.

You can learn more about insuring your restaurant or tavern with ICC by contacting an ICC agent today. The Find an Agent search on our homepage will help you find an ICC agent in your area.