What sort of insurance for a warehouse private function will I need to cover me for this, and is there anything else I may need to cover? 2 Answers as of June 06, 2013

I am planning a private function for 150-200 people in a warehouse and I am trying my best to make sure it is legal. There will be licensed security on the night and there will be no alcohol sold on the premises. Bring Your Own Beer will apply, but no glass bottles. Emergency exit, fire extinguishers, portaloo's will also be available. I am in Ireland but I guess insurance and precautions will be similar from country-country. Thanks!

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Lawyer for Indie Media | Sue Basko
Insurance and precautions may be similar in Ireland, but many laws will differ in specificity. Even in the U.S., laws about getting permits for events differ hugely depending on the location. In the U.S., such laws may come from the city or town, the county, and the state. In one location in the same U.S. state, there may be a long list of rules and permits, while at a different location in the same state, there may be no permits required. In the U.S., other things to look for include: the need for a permit, the need for inspections of any temporary structures, stages, scaffolding, lighting, licensing of food vendors and inspections of their facilities, etc. In the U.S., there might be a noise permit or entertainment license required. In the U.S., bring your own beer may be frowned upon, because then you do not control how much alcohol is consumed on the property or by whom. In the U.S., a huge thing to be careful of is to not allow any illegal drug possession, sales, or use on or about the premises, because this can lead to extreme penalties, including forfeiture of the building by the owner. In the U.S., you also need to be careful not to draw in the wrong people, such as gang members, because this can also lead to property forfeiture.

I think you should consult with a local lawyer in the place where the party will be held. Somehow I imagine the Irish being much less restrictive about running a party, but whatever the laws are, they will expect you to comply with them.

Overall, in running any event, the most important thing is that there be no injuries or deaths. It is well worth reading up on how crowd disasters have happened in the past. After a disaster, it is easy to look in retrospect and say that this or that should not have happened. Disasters tend to happen very quickly, often in a matter of minutes from start to resulting in numerous deaths. Disasters have been caused by such things as sound insulation that was not fireproof, curtains that were not fireproof, use of candles, use of fireworks or pyrotechnics indoors, locked or blocked exits, someone spraying pepper spray or mace indoors, overcrowding, lack of indoor fire sprinklers, open non-assigned seating, crowd crush toward a stage, crowd walking paths narrowing, crowd walking path leading to a tunnel, security guards removing guests and then not seeing that they be safely escorted all the way home, drunken guests being pushed or falling into water after leaving the event, guests drinking and driving, aggressive or violent security guards or guests, rival groups attacking an event, food that is not kept at properly hot and cold temperatures, too many guests standing on a bridge, walkway, scaffold, platform, or stage, structures, such as stages and light scaffolds, not designed and constructed to withstand wind or rain, outdoor constructions or tents not having lightning arresters, and other such things. Therefore, if you seek a permit and feel as if you are being put through an obstacle course, keep in mind, the goal is not to hassle you, but to avert disaster.

Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 6/6/2013
WEISSMAN LAW FIRM | I.Donald Weissman
Your best protection is to talk with an insurance broker and request "Event Insurance." It is intended to provide liability protection for anyone claiming injury and property damage at the event. (It will not cover contract claims or vendor claims of non-payment.)
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/6/2013
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