Hit over the head with a bottle...

by Chris
(San Francisco, CA)

I live in San Francisco and was at a bar with friends. I was sitting on one side of the establishment, when someone who was drunk on the other side of the bar for some reason threw a bottle across the room which crashed into my head. I was bleeding, rushed to the hospital, given staples and now have a scar on my head.

As I was being put into the cab, the owner of the bar said he would handle my hospital emergency room bill. I gave him the bill when it came, he said he would take care of it, and it's still not done. He now wants to submit it to his insurance. I was asked to give the information to the insurance agency.

I just now received a letter stating that they will not be paying the $2000 bill, and no one seems concerned with the fact that I was injured due to no fault of my own, and the bar owner stated several times that he would compensate my damages but feels like just talk. Do I have a case against the bar? What can be done about this?

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Hit over the head with a bottle...":

Chris (San Francisco, CA):

Your case against the bar is tenuous. Bar owners have a legal duty of care to do everything "reasonably possible" to keep their patrons safe from undue harm and injury. In your case it could be argued the bar owner did everything reasonably possible. It would be unreasonable, and probably impossible for a bar owner to know ahead of time one of his or her bar patrons would take a bottle and fling it across the room.

The only way to stop that from happening would be to enclose each table or area of the bar with netting, or other insulating material. That would be entirely unreasonable.

If though, the bar owner knew, or should have known the patron who threw the bottle had a propensity for violence, or had previously engaged in the same conduct, then the term reasonable would apply differently. In that case the bar owner would probably be liable for allowing that patron into his or her bar. As a result, the bar owner could be considered negligent.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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