Yes, you can sue a nightclub for injuries from a slip and fall if the club's negligence caused your accident. The nightclub must have been careless in some way that contributed to your injury for the club to be responsible for your losses. While nightclubs do not have to pay compensation to everyone who falls on their premises, they are liable when their mistakes hurt people.
Elements of Negligence for a Slip and Fall Accident
Slip and fall accidents fall under the umbrella of premises liability. For a landowner to be responsible to compensate an injured person, the plaintiff must show all three of these factors:
- There was a dangerous condition on the property.
- The property owner knew or should have known about the hazard.
- The owner did not repair or post adequate warnings about the dangerous condition.
Let's say that a newly opened nightclub operated with no consistent policy about which employees were to clean up spilled drinks on the floor. A patron spilled a drink on the floor. The puddle made the floor slippery or slick, which was a dangerous condition.
A server reported to the spill to her manager. As a result, the club knew or should have known about the hazard.
The manager did not direct anyone to clean up the puddle, block off the area with cones, or post "wet floor" warning signs. This fact satisfies the third element of negligence for a slip and fall accident, which is the failure to repair or post sufficient warnings about the dangerous condition.
The nightclub is negligent because the situation satisfies all three factors of slip and fall liability. If anyone gets hurt by slipping and falling in the puddle, the club will be responsible for the damages.
Foreseeability of Injuries
It is foreseeable that people will be at risk of slipping and falling at a nightclub for these reasons:
- The lighting inside a nightclub is usually dim, making it difficult to spot hazards on the floor.
- Nightclub customers often wear shoes designed for style and appearance rather than traction; in other words, dress shoes and high heels as opposed to hiking boots.
- Dancing, drinking beverages, and consuming alcohol are part of the nightclub scene.
As a result of these factors, nightclub owners should take reasonable measures to protect patrons from injury from slip and fall accidents.
The Nightclub Owner’s Duty under Georgia Law
Georgia law requires that property owners and their tenants exercise ordinary care to keep the premises and approaches (such as sidewalks and parking lots) safe for people who come onto the property legally, as invitees. An invitee is someone the owner expressly or impliedly invites onto the property, such as a customer or patron of the nightclub.
If a person went into the nightclub strictly for his own purposes, and not to transact business with the club, he is a licensee. Georgia law does not require the nightclub to keep the premises safe for invitees, but the club is not allowed to cause willful or wanton injury. An example of an invitee is someone who only comes into the nightclub to use the restroom, but does not buy any food or beverages or do anything else that benefits the owner.
If someone trespasses onto the property by entering without the invitation or consent of the nightclub, the club has no responsibility toward that person. The only restriction is that the nightclub is not allowed to cause intentional harm to the trespasser. An example of a trespasser is someone who sneaks in through the fire door of the club to avoid paying the cover charge.
Damages for a Slip and Fall Accident at a Nightclub
We cannot say how much compensation you will get for your slip and fall injury claim at a nightclub, because every case is different. Here are some of the common damages in these cases:
- Medical expenses, for the reasonable treatment you needed because of your injuries.
- Lost wages, if you missed getting wages, salary, self-employment, or other income because of the injury and recuperation time.
- Diminished earning capacity, if your injuries cause you to be unable to make as much money as before the fall.
- Disability, if you cannot support yourself through gainful employment because of your injuries.
- Pain and suffering, for the physical discomfort and emotional distress you experienced.
- Other noneconomic damages, like loss of enjoyment of life, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and a spouse's claim for loss of consortium.
Getting Help from a Lawyer for Your Slip and Fall in a Nightclub
You do not have to figure out all of the legal issues of negligence and liability to determine whether you have a valid claim for compensation for your injuries. You can call S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838 and get a free consultation. We do not charge upfront legal fees to handle these cases, and there is no obligation.