San Diego has a fabulous nightlife, including all manner of restaurants, bars, and other places to go out and have a good time with friends. Nobody expects to be involved in an attack or a fight during a night out or become a crime victim afterward.
Alcohol consumption combined with one or more rowdy patrons can lead to an unfortunate series of events. When a difference of opinion becomes heated, a physical altercation can follow. The aftermath of a fight can lead to moderate to severe injuries, even for someone who wasn’t involved.
Bar and pub owners have a responsibility to keep patrons safe under California premises liability laws. This includes adequate safety and security measures to diffuse these situations and prevent the possibility of injuries and fights in a bar or a pub.
When someone has an accident on another’s property, premises liability is the set of laws that address this type of accident. Bar fights and assaults fall under these laws, since an owner is required to ensure the safety of everyone who visits through a duty of care. This duty requires that the owner, or other party that otherwise controls a property do the following:
Proving premises liability in a lawsuit requires a plaintiff to prove that:
While the owner is the most likely to be liable, other responsible parties can include managers, landlords, employees, and others involved in the bar’s daily operations.
Altercations can quickly become dangerous, leading to serious injuries including:
Immediate medical care is important, but so is gathering evidence, if possible. Pictures of individuals, injuries, the bar itself, damage incurred, as well as contact information from witnesses are particularly useful. If you are unable to take pictures, ask a friend to do so, before your injuries heal and the bar has a chance to clean up everything.
Once you’ve received appropriate medical care after a bar fight or attack, you should speak with a San Diego premises liability attorney.
Bar owners have a responsibility to protect patrons from criminal activity inside and outside. Many bar owners hire security people from an outside company to protect the bar and their patrons.
A “bouncer” is an individual generally hired for their size and ability to intercept fights and attacks in an establishment, de-escalate situations and politely remove the offensive parties. Bouncers are generally not security guards. They do not have “special rights” to assault anyone but do have the right to use self-defense. Unfortunately, some bouncers react with an equal amount of violence and cause injuries to patrons in the process. In some cases, those injuries can be life-threatening.
A bar owner who hires bouncers or security guards should first make sure that they are properly vetted with a background check. The manager or owner of a bar or club who sees a bouncer becoming aggressive with patrons or fails to terminate one who attacks a patron can be held liable if someone is injured. It is always the owner’s responsibility to ensure that the individuals they hired are prepared for the job, and they do not exhibit aggressive or violent behavior against anyone.
When a bouncer intentionally inflicts injuries on patrons in the scope of his or her job, the bar can be found liable for a patron’s injuries.
Premises liability laws in California ensure that victims of a fight or attack in a bar or pub have the right to economic damages to help them recover from the financial losses. These damages may include:
California law also allows injured parties to recover noneconomic damages such as:
Plaintiffs generally have the burden of proof to show that the bar owner or one of the employees was directly responsible for their injuries. That's where a California premises liability attorney can help. When you work with an attorney, they will investigate the incident and gather evidence that can show negligence and prove that the property owner was not protecting patrons as they are required.
A premises liability attorney can also represent you in front of insurance companies. Rather than try to negotiate on your own, an attorney can handle negotiations so that you can receive the maximum settlement for your injuries.
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