Are Florida Bars and Nightclubs Liable for Bar Fight Injuries?

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Are Florida Bars and Nightclubs Liable for Bar Fight Injuries?

fight in a florida night club

Depending on the circumstances, bars and nightclubs can be sued for injuries sustained within their establishment. Hundreds of individuals are severely injured in bar fights every year. These injuries can be the result of violence from an intoxicated individual, security personnel or an employee of the establishment.

Florida’s Premises Liability Laws 

Business owners must provide their patrons with a level of protection and care, which means minimizing or eliminating potentially hazardous conditions within their property. This requires more than just removing slip and fall hazards; it also applies to security and safety from other patrons.

If the bar owner fails to maintain a safe establishment, and an individual is injured, the owners may be held liable. To prove negligence on the establishment’s part, there will have to be proof of the following:

  • The injured person was a customer at the establishment
  • The owner or business had a duty to protect the patron
  • The owner, employee or company was negligent in providing protection from an assault
  • Injuries were a direct result of that negligence
  • The injuries resulted in monetary damages

 

Comparative fault defenses are often used in bar fight injury cases. In other words, the patron did something they knew could potentially result in their own injury. In a slip and fall case this may entail a person looking at their phone instead of where they were walking. In a bar fight injury case, the defense may argue the patron started the fight or escalated it.

 

How Are Damages Collected for Assault at a Florida Bar or Nightclub?

The injured individual can seek compensation by filing a premises liability claim. This claim is submitted to the property owner’s insurance company in order to seek compensation for injuries sustained in the bar fight.

The proper steps must be taken to bring a successful premises liability claim. The owner of the property or bar should be immediately notified, and the injured person should seek medical attention right away. The police should be contacted, and evidence should be preserved and documented.

At this point it may be in your best interest to speak with a premises liability lawyer, especially those with negligent security experience. A skilled premises liability lawyer should understand how to gather evidence and negotiate with the insurance company.

Who Is at Fault for Bar or Nightclub Fight Injuries?

The fault is typically attributed to the party who caused the injury or started the fight and the establishment that failed to prevent the fight or provide adequate security to stop the fight before injuries were sustained.

There must be proof that the business failed to meet their legal duty to keep patrons safe from foreseeable harm, and that this breach of legal duty resulted in injuries.

A couple of statutes can be referenced when proving the establishment’s liability. One is regarding dram shop laws, which are typically used in drunk driving injury cases. Florida’s dram shop laws are a little different from other states. In Florida, bars are only liable for overserving customers if the customer was a minor or a known habitual addict (alcoholic).

If knowledge of the negligent party’s alcoholism can be established, dram shop laws may be relevant in a bar fight case.

It is also up to the business to provide necessary security for its patrons. They should maintain a safe environment by employing an adequate number of bouncers or by hiring off-duty law enforcement officers to monitor the place of business.

Bars and night clubs should also take other steps to limit potential physical damage in the event of an altercation – such as utilizing plastic cups instead of glass, securing chairs and tables to the flooring or removing tripping hazards within the establishment.

A bar can potentially shield themselves from bar fight injury liability if they can show they took steps to prevent fights and limit injuries if a fight were to happen.

What to Do If You Are Involved in a Bar or Nightclub Fight in Florida

Time is of the essence when it comes to premises liability claims. The longer you wait, the harder it is to collect evidence. Seeking medical attention is by far the most crucial first step. Medical records are a necessity in presenting a premises liability case.

Then, if they aren’t already aware of the situation, the establishment should be notified of the event details. You will also want to collect any witness names and contact information. Their accounts can strengthen your case and clarify essential details leading up to the events.

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