Fell Down Steps in a Bar...

by Dara
(Mesa, AZ)

My father was served alcohol at a bar and when leaving he fell down the outside stairs. He received a laceration to his scalp and bruises all over his body. He had to be taken to the emergency room in an ambulance as he was knocked out for a bit. I'm wondering if the bar is liable for paying his hospital bills?

Visitor Question:
Disclaimer: Information provided in our response is NOT formal legal advice. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Under no circumstances should the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a formal case review from a licensed attorney.

ANSWER for "Fell Down Steps in a Bar...":

Dara (Mesa, AZ):

Whether the bar has any liability or not will depend on several matters. They are:

A. Whether your father was intoxicated at the time he fell. (Intoxication can occur with as little as two drinks, whether beer, wine, whiskey, or other alcoholic drink.)

B. The lighting around the stairs.

C. Whether there was a handrail on the steps (especially if one was required by the local building codes).

The bar is probably insured. It would be a good idea for you or your dad to contact the bar and attempt to get the name and telephone number of their insurance company. If they cooperate and you file a claim, an insurance adjuster will investigate your claim.

Whether the adjuster will accept or deny the claim will be up to the factors above and possibly more.

If the bar won't cooperate you can always consider legal action. You or your dad can pursue the claim without an attorney if you are prepared to go through a lawsuit by yourselves.

The Small Claims limits in the State of Arizona are among the lowest in the United States. The maximum limit is $2,500 dollars. That's probably not going to be enough money to cover the medical bills from the hospital's emergency room alone.

Your alternative is to consult with a personal injury attorney. Unless your dad's injuries are quite serious and his resulting medical bills sufficiently high, a personal injury attorney probably won't accept the case.

It wouldn't hurt to at least consult with a qualified personal injury attorney. Most do not charge any fee for an initial office consultation. That's a great way to know where you and your dad stand.

Since laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions, you should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state (if you haven't already). Find an experienced local attorney to give you a free personal case review here.

Best of luck,

Judge Anthony

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