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Can I sue a nightclub, concert venue or bar where I was injured?

  • Published: April 17, 2017
Can I sue a nightclub, concert venue or bar where I was injured?

The Answer is yes, but the law on the subject is surprisingly complex and depends on many factors. Call (267) 225-3317 for a free consultation with Troy R. Crichton, Esq. Within 15 minutes, Mr. Crichton will be able to weigh the merits of your case and provide insight on whether you have a good chance at financial compensation for your injuries.

Premises Liability and Claims Against Bars and Nightclubs

A nightclub, similar to other businesses like a hotel or grocery store, can be held legally responsible for injuries occurring on the business’s property. Under the theory of “premises liability,” a nightclub may be liable for guest injuries on the property caused by a bar employee’s negligence. For example, if a bar patron is injured in a slip and fall on a spilled drink that was not cleaned up within a reasonable time, the customer may be able to may sue the nightclub for negligence.

In order for an injured bar patron to win a lawsuit against a nightclub for negligence, he or she must prove that the nightclub breached a duty owed to the bar patron and that breach caused an injury.

Nightclubs have a general duty to exercise reasonable care in maintaining the property and keeping the premises in a reasonably safe condition. Where bar employees or the nightclub itself fail to exercise reasonable care, they are considered to be in breach. A breach is a wrongful act. For example, a nightclub breaches it’s duty to bar patrons when a rotted bar stool breaks and injures a bar patron. In that case, the breach is the act of not maintaining safe bar stools.

An important element in any negligence claim is causation. An injured bar patron must prove that the nightclub caused the harm or injury. It must be foreseeable to the nightclub that its actions or failure to act could cause injuries to its guests. Causation can relieve the nightclub of liability in many situations. An intoxicated person may simply fall on the dance floor and suffer a concussion and a broken wrist. The nightclub did not cause this injury and is therefore not liable. There are some injuries that cannot be avoided or prevented with safety measures and precautions.

The last and most easily provable element of a premises liability claim is damages. The term “damages” simply means the injury or harm suffered by the plaintiff in a lawsuit. The person suing the nightclub must prove that he or she was harmed or injured. Where a nightclub is found liable, the injured person may recover damages including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and mental anguish.

What about Criminal Assault at a bar? Can the Bar be held liable in Civil Court?

Bars, Nightclubs and Taverns can also be held liable when patrons are criminally assaulted on their premises. It is a well-established common law rule that:

“When one enters a saloon or tavern, opened for the entertainment of the public, the proportion is bound to see that he is properly protected from the assaults or insults of others as well as those who are in his employ from the drunken and vicious men whom he may choose to harbor.” Rommel v. Schambacher, 11 A. 779 (Pa. 1887).

Pursuant to these principles, bars have been held responsible for a plaintiff-patron’s injuries by another patron particularly when the bar bears enhanced liability under the Pennsylvania Dram Shop Statute. The PA Dram Shop statute makes it negligence per se for a bar owner to serve someone who is visibility intoxicated. If a bar serves a visibly intoxicated person they can be held liable for intentional and accidental acts that stem from it, i.e. car accident, physical assaults.

Can a nightclub or bar be liable for Negligence Security?

Yes. The responsibility of a bar, nightclub or concert venue is undeniably linked to the “foreseeability” or causation of the incident. The premises’ owner must have known or reason to know from past experience that there is a likelihood of conduct on the part of its patrons in general which is likely to endanger the safety of a visitor, even though he has no reason to expect it on the part of any particular individual. The foreseeability requirement lends itself to a host of situations. Is it foreseeable that teenagers might crowd surf at a punk rock show and fall? Is it foreseeable that an unrestrained mosh pit at a concert might injury someone? Is it foreseeable that a fight might break out at that biker bar under the train tracks? Is it foreseeable that someone might bring a weapon into a nightclub? If so, these establishments have a duty to protect you from these foreseeable injuries. If you have been injured at a bar, club or concert, call Troy R. Crichton, Esq. at (267) 225-3317 for a free consultation. These cases are quite difficult and defense counsel will often argue that there “was nothing they could do,” that the accident was not foreseeable, or that they did not cause the victim’s injuries. You need a seasoned trail attorney who will fight for you. Call Troy R. Crichton today.

Troy Crichton

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