Across the country, many people enjoy themselves by drinking and dancing the night away at nightclubs. To be sure, most people enter clubs with the intention of having a good time. No one anticipates that their night out might end in injury or even death. Unfortunately, a variety of injuries may occur inside a nightclub or on the way home. Bar fights, overcrowding, and inadequate security are common problems frequently seen in the nightclub environment. Over served patrons can pose a hazard to themselves and others on the road. When these incidents cause a personal injury, the nightclub may be liable for financial compensation.
Duty of Care
Nightclub owners owe a duty to their patrons to maintain their establishments in a safe and proper manner and to properly deal with intoxicated patrons. This entails a number of responsibilities, including:
- Ensuring that there are adequate exits from the facility in relation to the number of patrons allowed;
- Ensuring that all exits are open and available in case of emergency;
- Complying with occupancy limitations;
- Providing adequate security; and,
- Ensuring that bartenders and waitresses do not continue to serve obviously intoxicated individuals.
Breach of Duty
Once a duty to act is established, the plaintiff must prove that the duty was breached by either action or inaction. The necessary type of proof depends on the type of injury suffered. Always attempt to notify the club owner or manager about any injury as soon as possible after it occurred. If that individual is not available, speak with the bartender and get their name. This notification may be necessary to prove that the injury happened at the club and not after you left. If you wait until you get home to report the incident, the nightclub owner may argue that the injury occurred after your exit.
- If your injury resulted from a drunken assault, contact law enforcement. Upon conducting an investigation, the police report will list the name and location of the nightclub as the incident location.
- If your injury resulted from slipping on spilled liquids or a defect in the dance floor, try to immediately identify the problem and take pictures of it and immediately notify a club representative.
- Many fire and bar fight injuries occur because of blocked exits and overcrowding. If patrons all attempt to exit at the same time, people may get knocked down or even trampled. In these situations, paramedics and law enforcement will likely arrive on the scene to administer treatment. Accept medical assistance at the scene, provide identifying information to law enforcement, and document where your injuries occurred.
In a personal injury claim, the defendant must prove that the injuries were foreseeable. This means that the owner or manager knew or should have known that these types of injuries were possible if their duty of care was breached. For example, it is foreseeable that blocked exits could cause a fire hazard and result in fire related injuries.
If you suffered from a nightclub-related injury, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss the merits of your case. Call Pawlowski//Mastrilli Law Group at (813) 803-6518 for a free consultation.