Visitor Question

Hospital treatment after barroom brawl…

Submitted By: Rick (Huntington Beach, CA)

I was at Kits bar last night minding my own business when a guy pulled my chair out. I stood up and asked him what he was doing. He said “I don’t like you,” and I said “What?” That’s when he threw a punch at me.  I blocked the punch but got hit by someone else, then another hit and another hit.

I fought with 3 to 5 guys. They were punching on me when the guy that started it all came up and hit me with a beer bottle right on my eyebrow. Then someone grabbed me and pushed me through the front door and shut it to where I could not get back in.

I was bleeding everywhere. The bartender did not call the police and she did not come out to see how I was. There was no security whatsoever. I called a friend and he came and rushed me to the hospital. I had stitches over my eye, my left knee and wrist are messed up, and one half of my skull is a bruised. This happened yesterday and I can’t walk today.

The bartender texted me last night saying she was very sorry for what happened to me. Police came to the hospital and I filed a report. Police said that they were going to see if the bar had any video. I’m trying to find out who was the guy that started it all. What can I do?

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.

Answer

Dear Rick,

Bars, restaurants, and nightclubs are under a legal duty of care to do everything within reason to assure their patrons are not unduly harmed or injured. This includes providing an environment in which bar patrons are safe and protected from assaults by third parties.

Providing a safe environment might include:

  • Not serving alcohol to a patron who is visibly intoxicated
  • Ejecting a patron who may be threatening bar patrons and/or employees
  • Barring entry to persons known to have caused problems in the past, or who have a reputation for causing disturbances

When a bar owner, or the bar manager takes the above precautions, and one or more patrons inside the bar decides to commit the crime of assault, the bar owner may not be liable for injuries caused by that patron to another bar patron.

The reasoning is this: It is difficult, even unreasonable, for a bar owner to be held liable for the sudden outburst and assault perpetrated by one patron against another. The bar owner is not criminally complicit in the crime unless the bar owner (or his or her employees) acted on behalf of the patron committing the assault.

As long as the owner took reasonable precautions to bar or remove the patrons who had a known propensity for disruptions, or who have previously manifested violence, the bar owner should not be held liable. Instead, your cause of action would be against those who assaulted you.

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: October 19, 2017

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