Bar Owners Can't Always Avoid Responsibility For Their Customer's Actions
Nightclub owners cannot be responsible for everything that happens on their establishments' premises. In some situations, the patrons of the bar are solely responsible for any egregious acts. A violent patron could find himself fully liable in civil court for drunken actions. No real surprise here since irresponsible people usually pay the price for poor behavior. They might not be the only ones paying, though—a bar's owner may not escape liability in all instances. Depending on the circumstances, a nightclub's proprietor could share at least some of the legal blame for a customer's actions.
The Obnoxious, Belligerent Drunk
Bar fights happen. Often, the bar's staff breaks these incidents up quickly. Skilled nightclub security pros know how to stop a dangerous situation from worsening. What happens if a belligerent, intoxicated patron picks on someone who did nothing to instigate an altercation? A punch is thrown and the innocent person suffers a broken nose. The violent patron is now liable for the injury. The bar, however, could possibly share responsibility under the following circumstances:
- The patron stood out earlier as a troublemaker, but was never asked to leave
- The bar continued to serve an impaired person drinks, further exacerbating unacceptable behavior
- Bouncers failed to restrain the person once he became violent
Another point worth mentioning is that bar owners should expect fights to break out since the occurrences are not uncommon. Did management devise a policy to deal with brawls?
The Spiked Drink Scam
While perhaps not as common as fights, drink spiking does occur. Criminals spike drinks with mind-altering drugs, leading the victim to follow the "spiker's" suggestions. The suggestion may involve taking the mark to an ATM to withdraw funds. The person who is given the drugs, however, could lose more than money. He/she might suffer a terrible adverse health reaction to the drugs. But how could the bar owner share liability in a drink-spiking incident?
- If they had prior knowledge that the spiker pulled similar scams at other establishments, management had the right to ask the person to leave.
- The spiker appeared to be engaged in prostitution. Often, solicitation scams set up the eventual drink spiking. Bars shouldn't allow illegal behavior to occur on their premises. Looking the other way may lead to sharing responsibility for any disastrous results.
Bar owners have a responsibility to maintain a safe environment. If the bar's proprietors contributed to harm even through omission, the bar could be liable.
A Word About Suing the Bar
Victims may block violent or embarrassing incidents out of their minds, but medical bills, lost wages, financial suffering, and pain and suffering won't go away. The main guilty person may have no money or assets to seize after a judgment, so recovering losses from the bar may be the only option.
For more information, contact a personal injury attorney.