Although bars and nightclubs are supposed to be places for fun and relaxation, it is not uncommon for a fun night to be turned on its head because a fight breaks out. Overconsumption of alcohol leads many to suffer from impaired judgment, failing to consider the legal repercussions of throwing fists and bottles.
That being said, it often doesn’t make sense to sue the individual who is responsible for causing the injury. Insurance policies will generally not cover these claims and it is unlikely that the potential defendant in question will have sufficient assets to pay the personal injury judgment awarded. Following bar-fight injuries, the best course of action may be to sue the bar for resulting damages based on negligence. An attorney with experience handling cases of this nature could help an individual determine the liability of certain parties in a bar-fight case and determine the best path toward compensation.
Assuming that the fight was not entered voluntarily, it is possible to file a claim against the bar on the basis of the establishment’s negligence. For a negligence case to be successful, the injured individual will need to prove that the bar breached the duty of care that it owed to customers. Breaching this duty is encompassed by the bar failing to keep their customers or employees safe from undue harm and failing to ensure that their property is free of hazards.
A bar is liable for injuries suffered from customers in the establishment, in the parking lot, alleyways, streets, or whatever property the bar is on. This failure to protect their customers constitutes a breach of legal duty, allowing a customer to file a claim stating that it was the bar’s negligence that was the cause of their injury.
Most U.S. states utilize dram shop laws. Under dram shop laws, a bar can sometimes be held liable for serving alcohol to a person who ends up causing harm to themselves or someone else. Although the laws vary from state to state, dram shop laws require that the entity and its employees not serve any alcohol to intoxicated patrons.
In the instance of a fight, an establishment that continued to serve an attacker when they were already showing signs of being belligerent and sloppy may be held liable for resulting injuries. Dram shop laws also prohibit the location from serving any alcoholic beverages to minors under any circumstances. Bar owners are also to be held liable if they do not take necessary safety precautions to account for instances such as violence or rowdiness. Some possible precautions may include:
Dram shop laws are just one potential route to holding a bar accountable for injuries that they contributed to. A skilled lawyer could explain the relevance of dram shop laws in more detail and discuss the application of these laws to a particular case.
If you or a loved one have suffered bodily harm at the hands of a bar fight, a dedicated attorney could help you seek the compensation that you deserve. Given that dram laws vary from state to state and bar fight injury cases are often decided on very slight details, it may be difficult to attempt to file the personal injury claim by yourself. A seasoned personal injury lawyer with experience in this field could help you chart the best path forward given the individual facts of your case. Reach out today to learn more.
Goldstein and Bashner