Is a nightclub liable for injuries from a fight that occurred off-property?

by Mike
(Orange County, California)

I was injured in a fight after leaving a nightclub in Orange County California. The club was located in a shopping center with multiple bars. I wasn't still on the club's property when the fight happened. I was about 100 yards away from the club, surrounded by other people that came from the same club.

Is the club still liable for my injuries? Thank you.

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. Our response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Always get a formal case review from a licensed attorney in your area.

ANSWER for "Is a nightclub liable for injuries from a fight that occurred off-property?":

Mike (Orange County, California):

In the State of California, nightclub owners have what's referred to as a "legal duty of care" to do everything reasonably possible to protect their patrons from undue harm and injury.

Moreover, California bars, nightclubs and other commercial establishments which serve alcohol to the public are subject to "Dram Shop" laws. These dram shop laws hold commercial establishments liable for injuries caused to third party patrons and outside parties.

Liability can attach when, as a result of serving alcohol to an intoxicated patron, that patron causes property damage or personal injury to other patrons, and/or to the general public. In all probability, the nightclub owner is not liable for your injuries. However, there is a possibility he or she may be.

If you can prove the person who injured you was served alcohol after a time when the bartender knew, or should have known the person was intoxicated, and the bartender continued to serve the intoxicated patron, and as a result of that intoxication that patron assaulted you, then the nightclub owner may be liable for your injuries.

You will need witnesses who can state they saw the bartender continue to serve the patron after he was intoxicated. You will also need to prove damages. Damages can include medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses (medications, bandages, crutches, etc.), lost wages, and pain and suffering.

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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