When you think about a personal injury lawsuit, you probably think of a car accident or a slip and fall. There are some circumstances, however, that warrant injury claims outside the realm of traumatic accidents – such as bar fights. After a brawl in a bar or nightclub, you may be able to place liability for your injuries with the other fighter or the establishment. Talk to the attorneys at DeWitt Algorri & Algorri, PC for legal help with bar fight claims. We serve all of California with dedicated, assertive trial lawyers.
Who is Responsible?
Placing liability is one of the first steps toward initiating a personal injury claim. You must consider who may be legally responsible for your bar fight and resultant injuries. This is the person or entity who you will bring your claim against and from who you’ll try to recover damages. Damages in a bar fight claim could include payment for medical costs, lost time at work, emotional harm, and property damage. Here are three possibilities:
- The other person. If someone else punched you, threw a chair at you, or cut you with broken glass, you could bring a personal injury claim against the assailant. You might also have a case against the bar on the grounds of premises liability if there was inadequate security or an unsafe property feature that led to the other person picking a fight or causing your injuries.
- The security guard/bouncer. If your bar fight injuries occurred due to a bouncer or security guard exerting excessive force on you, you may have a case against the individual or the establishment. If the bar negligently hired or trained the bouncer, the courts might hold it responsible for what happened through vicarious liability laws.
- The establishment. California’s dram shop laws tend to limit liability, but they still hold that someone may bring a civil case against a restaurant or bar if the establishment continues to serve to an obviously intoxicated minor who then injures someone else. Anyone confronting this scenario needs to consult an experienced attorney.
A third party might also be partially responsible. Say, for example, a person other than the assailant threw a beer bottle into the crowd. The assailant thought it was you and started a fight. In this scenario, you may have a case against the assailant for causing your injuries, but also against the third party for throwing the bottle. It takes a thorough investigation from a team of attorneys to assign fault and name the likely defendants(s) in a bar fight case.
Pursuing a Bar or Nightclub Fight Case
If you believe you have grounds to sue someone or a business for your bar fight injuries, there are things you can do right away to protect your right to sue. First, report the incident to the bar’s management. Do this as soon as possible. Then, seek medical attention for your injuries. Keep copies of the official medical records, scans, and treatment plans. Gather information such as the name of the assailant and the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses who saw the fight or how it started. Next, call an attorney.
In California, the law gives you two years from the date of your injuries to file a personal injury claim, but we advise against waiting. Insurance companies and jurors can question the legitimacy of your claim if you wait too long to file. If you miss your deadline, you can lose the right to sue altogether. Speak to our attorneys as soon as you can after a bar fight incident to begin pursuing compensation for your damages. Contact us online or call (626) 568-4000 for a free consultation.