Can I Sue a Bar or Nightclub For Assault?

You can sue a bar or nightclub for assault if the establishment’s negligence led to the incident.

How Can I Sue A Bar or Nightclub for Assault?

To recover compensation from a bar or nightclub, you would need to file a premises liability claim.

The success of a premises liability claim hinges on whether you can prove the establishment failed to provide a safe environment for you, the customer.

So, how does a premises liability claim work in the case of a bar or nightclub assault? It depends on who the assailant was.

Assailant: Staff Members

If you are suing a bouncer, bartender, or another club employee, your best bet is to call into question the business's recruiting, hiring, vetting, and training practices. To establish negligence on the part of the bar or nightclub, we will try to answer the following questions:

  • Did the establishment conduct a background check? What were the results of the background check?
  • Did it ignore red flags such as aggressive behavior?
  • Did it fail to reprimand or fire a staff member who behaved aggressively or assaulted someone else in the past?
  • How thorough is the establishment's training on defusing tense situations?
  • Was the incident one-sided? (Did you provoke the employee?)

Assailant: Another Patron

If the assailant was another patron, you can argue negligent security. Consider the following: you are drinking at the local bar. The owner knows that things often get out of hand and fights occur. To keep patrons safe, the owner should hire bouncers to break up fights. If security was not present to prevent your assault, you could hold the bar responsible.

You can also hold the establishment responsible for things that happen outside. For example, say there are no lights in the parking lot. If you are assaulted in the parking lot while walking to your car, you could sue the establishment.

Every case is unique, and there is no boilerplate lawsuit template to cover every scenario. A premises liability attorney from S. Burke Law can evaluate the details of your case and then draw up a personalized plan for pursuing compensation.

What Do I Need to Do to Prove My Case?

To prove the bar was liable for your assault, you must establish the following elements:

  • There was a hazard on-site.
  • The owner created, knew about, or should have known about the hazard.
  • The owner did nothing to remedy this hazard.
  • The hazard caused or contributed to your injuries.

Consider our examples in the section above:

Bouncer Assault Example

Let us say the bar owner knew he was hiring a bouncer with a history of overly aggressive behavior. During the bouncer’s time at the bar, he injures a patron while escorting him out. (The bouncer’s aggressive behavior is a hazard.)

The owner knew about the incident but did not reprimand or fire the bouncer. A month later, the bouncer believes that you are acting aggressively toward him and tackles you. (The hazard caused your injuries.)

Patron Assault Example

The lights in the parking lot burnt out a month ago. (Hazard)

The bar owner saw the burnt-out lights two weeks later, but failed to replace them. (The owner knew about the hazard and did nothing to fix it.)

The owner did not tell you about the burnt-out lights or offer to have a bouncer walk you to your car. Someone standing in the dark attacks you while you were walking to your car. (The hazard contributed to your injuries. If you saw there was someone standing in the parking lot, you would have been able to avoid the attack.)

What Issues Might I Face When Filing a Claim or Lawsuit?

The establishment’s insurance company will not want to pay your claim. To reduce or deny your claim, you might face any of the following allegations:

  • You were the aggressor.
  • You contributed to the incident.
  • The bouncer or bartender was simply doing his job and you refused to leave the premises.
  • You are exaggerating the incident.

To defend against these allegations, we will provide evidence such as surveillance video and eyewitness testimony to prove the incident occurred just as you said it did.

To Learn More About Suing A Bar or Club for Assault, Call S. Burke Law

If you were the victim of assault while trying to enjoy a night out in a bar or nightclub, you deserve compensation for your injuries, lost wages, and pain and suffering. A premises liability lawyer at S. Burke Law can help you build evidence and pursue the establishment where the assault occurred for damages.

In addition, we can determine whether it is worth it to also file an intentional tort claim against your assailant.

Call today for a free consultation: 404-842-7838.