As the leading Estes Park wedding DJ, Matt Martindale with Amore’ DJ Entertainment, has some great tips how not to get sued by your guests.
Matt Martindale continues to write lots of feature trade industry articles, a very popular speaker national conventions and teacher of workshops all around the U.S. for the wedding DJ industry brings one of the most downloaded articles from Mobile Beat. Many
Many venues simply hand out the article to brides explaining about why the hired DJ has to have proof of business liability insurance – and why so many venues now are starting to require it. It’s a fantastic article and so worth the 5 minutes to read~
This article was written for the DJ industry.
It’s a great article. Why Venues and Clients Care If You Have Liability Insurance
“My goal is to be a resource, to help educate and raise the bar of professionalism for DJs, but more importantly, the wedding industry too! There are so many things brides just don’t know that will blow your mind.”
Liability insurance (also known as Commercial General Business Liability) protects a company’s assets and pays for obligations, for example, medical expenses that are incurred if someone gets hurt on THEIR property, or perhaps property damage caused by you or your employees. The fact is, if the DJ causes the accident, or is perceived to be negligent, the venue WILL get sued. Yes, you read correctly! The plaintiff’s attorney, by default, will pursue litigation against the DJ (whether that person is a professional, amateur, friend or family member), and the “event holder,”….in this case the venue and the bride and groom.
Every DJ needs to know the current trends with event holders and how liability insurance is viewed!
The FACT is: More and more venues across the country are demanding a copy of the certificate of insurance prior to being allowed to set up. Sometimes, upon arrival – sometimes months in advance.
Venues want to verify that coverage is bound, and in force. Some venues include a formal “vetting” process that includes a review of references, current business licenses, auto insurance, workman’s comp and more. Several venues are now verifying coverage to ensure it is in effect; often 30+ days prior to an event. Some now also call the agent listed on the policy to verify current coverage before each event. (Yes! In my research, I’ve had venues tell me that some knucklehead DJs get a liability policy as required, submit the certificate of insurance in advance so it appears its’ in effect, then immediately cancel the policy to get a refund from the insurance provider, but later only to discover there is no actual liability coverage for the event. Talk about risky!)
According to event insurance leader, RV Nuccio in an interview:
“The actual frequency is high for damages with slips and falls because those are very, very common. Claims often quickly get into the millions of dollars. An average bodily injury claim, including pain and suffering is about $300K. Add in typical defense costs of about $250K, and it adds up to over a half million dollars rather quickly. What people don’t know, is that their personal assets are on the line (before settlement).”
The fact is, a good DJ liability policy should cover defense costs.
In two different interviews with RV Nuccio, and Tim Beckett (owner of John C. Beckett Insurance Agency), consider numerous stories like this of actual incidents:
- Lighting fixtures fall and cause property damage and bodily injury.
- Tons of trips on speakers, tripods, chords and gear.
- DJs have to set up in a “bad spot” as mandated by the venue (high traffic), and not allowed to set up where they needed to be set up, or where they know they can set up safely and correctly facing exposed liability when an incident occurs.
- Cabling not taped down, or taped down very poorly – HUGE! (A new problem just emerging: what happens when venues now don’t allow pro gaff tape on their wood floors? What if they provide rugs? Who is liable?)
- Lots of falls from condensation from fog machines on the dance floor.
- Knocked over lights and speakers
- Person slipped on a spilled drink on the dance floor, they fell on a glass, almost died. (Who’s responsible?)
- Gaps in the dance floor as pieces start to separate, a woman catches a heel, falls and has severe knee injuries. (Who’s at fault? Who owns the dance floor? Who set it up? Is it the DJ’s legal responsibility to notify the venue immediately if it starts to separate? What if he doesn’t see it? What if he does, but it isn’t fixed for 5+ minutes? Who’s responsible?)
- A rooftop speaker set up outside and a guest steps back accidentally knocking the speaker over the edge. It lands on another roof below causing damage to the other roof and structure.
…and many more!
Beckett said, “it’s a bride’s special day. She’s probably already bankrupted her parents, and expensed a lot of money for her wedding day. The last she thing she wants to do, is to deal with potential damages from an injury to one of her guests or face a lawsuit.” Furthermore, according to Nuccio, “a DJ properly insured, will have their policy come into place first, not the venue’s. This helps the venue protect the cost of their insurance premium since premiums are based on frequency of damages, and extent of damages. Many claims that happen quickly then means they can become un-insurable, or face a potentially very high premium. They are seeking to protect their assets and limit their liability. That’s why a good DJ liability policy is a must!”
There are two more critical facts we’ll cover in two more parts:
A belief that having an friend, family member, or amateur DJ perform will prevent liability claims because their homeowners insurance will cover them, or a “hold harmless” agreement is enough.
Why education is the key. Clients and venues are much more savvy and aware now!
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Matt Martindale – Amore’ DJ Entertainment, Wedding Lighting and Interactive Photo Booth
16 Time Colorado Award Winning Wedding Entertainment Designer®, Wedding Master of Ceremonies & Wedding Disc Jockey