Visitor Question

Innocent Bystander Gets Broken Nose in a Bar Fight…

Submitted By: Jess (New York)

I was in a bar when a fight broke out. In the process of the bouncers trying to break up the fight, a girl got shoved backwards and the back of her head hit me square in the face. I got a broken nose and a gash on my nose. I had to go to the hospital, get x-rays and checked out by a physician.

I suffered extreme pain, and continue to have pain and discomfort from this injury. I can’t chew and my eyes are turning black and blue. Do I have any kind of a case for my medical bills and pain and suffering? What can I do? Thanks.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Jess,

Whether you have a valid legal claim will depend on several factors…

The first factor is whether you had ingested any alcohol while in the bar. If so the owners of the bar may contend you were intoxicated and as a result of your intoxication you didn’t get out of the way fast enough, and that if you were sober you wouldn’t have been injured.

As a result of your intoxication they will claim you contributed to your own injury. Although such a premise probably sounds absurd, you can be sure this type of defense is used all the time by bar owners – and often successfully.

The next factor will be whether you were in any manner involved in the altercation. If so the bar will contend your participation resulted in your own injuries.

Finally, before any legal claim becomes viable you will have to have sustained “damages”. Damages are medical bills, lost wages, and out of pocket expenses resulting from your injuries. You obviously have incurred some medical bills already. If those bills are over about a thousand dollars it might be worth your time to file a claim with the bar’s insurance company.

There’s really no limit to the amount of damages you must have, but the practical nature of filing a lawsuit over a minimal amount of medical bills makes the amount of damages a real consideration.

Your best bet would be to contact the bar owner and tell him you sustained injuries and medical bills. Tell him you want to file a claim with his insurance company. Hopefully he’ll cooperate. If not you might consider a lawsuit.

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

Best of luck,

Published: September 24, 2012

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