Your Recourse After Being Assaulted By A Nightclub Bouncer

While everyone likes going out for a night on the town in South Florida, it can sometimes lead to unfortunate encounters, especially in some of the busier nightlife areas. When situations unfortunately escalate to violence, it’s not uncommon for patrons to be assaulted by the very people who are there to keep the peace: the nightclub bouncers and security.

In the event of an assault by a bouncer, patrons may consider two primary courses of action: an intentional tort claim against the bouncer and a negligent security or premises liability claim against the business. Establishing fault and proving violations by the bouncer or nightclub management is critical to building a strong case.

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What Can You Do After Being Assaulted By A Bouncer?

While responsible bouncers are expected to minimize conflict and provide a safe environment, crossing the line and using excessive force against customers isn't acceptable. If a bouncer injures a victim, they can file a lawsuit against the individual and possibly the establishment.

Identifying The Nature Of Assault

An assault occurs when someone threatens another person or causes them imminent physical harm. In a nightclub, this can mean a bouncer verbally threatening a patron, physically grabbing or pushing them, or using excessive force to remove them from the premises. It's important to determine the nature of the assault as this may affect the victim's ability to take legal action.

If the victim believes a bouncer has assaulted them, they should document the incident as accurately as possible, including any relevant details about the bouncer, witnesses, and injuries sustained. In some cases, a victim may be able to file a negligence lawsuit against the establishment that employs the bouncer, especially if the establishment breached its duty to keep patrons safe.

Distinguishing Between Battery And Assault

Battery occurs when a person intentionally makes physical contact with another person without their consent and thereby causes them physical harm or assaults them. In contrast, assault does not necessarily involve physical contact but rather the threat or perceived fear of harm. Understanding this distinction is important as the legal circumstances can vary.

For example, if a bouncer pushed you to the ground, it would be battery. If the bouncer only verbally threatens you with physical harm but doesn’t touch you, then it could be considered assault. can be charged with assault. Regardless of whether it's assault or battery, the victim should consult an experienced attorney to determine if they have a claim and what the best course of action is.

Nightclub Liability And Duty Of Care

Nightclubs must fulfill their duty of care by creating a safe environment for their patrons and properly training their staff, including bouncers. If this is not done, the nightclub can be held liable under premises liability laws for injuries or damage that could have been prevented.

Establishment's Responsibility

Like any other business, nightclubs are responsible for providing a safe environment for their guests. This includes ensuring that their entire staff is properly trained and behaves professionally.

If a nightclub fails to meet this duty of care, it can be held liable for any injuries or damages caused by its negligence.

To establish liability, it must be proven that the nightclub had a duty to provide a safe environment, breached that duty, and proximately caused the victim's injuries. The nightclub's responsibility could also extend to the actions of its staff, such as bouncers, who could be considered vicarious agents of the nightclub.

Premises Liability And Negligence

Premises liability is a legal principle that holds property owners and managers responsible for any injuries caused on their premises by their negligence. In the context of nightclubs, premises liability can involve situations like these:

  • Inadequate lighting: poorly lit areas that contribute to accidents or make it difficult for security personnel to spot potential threats.
  • Slip and Fall Accidents: Failure to immediately clean up spills or remove hazards such as uneven flooring that cause guests to slip, fall, and injure themselves.
  • Hazardous Obstacles: The presence of dangerous objects or equipment in the nightclub that could cause injury.
  • Negligent Security: The lack of adequate security measures and personnel in a nightclub to prevent assaults, altercations, or other violent incidents.

If patrons are injured due to a nightclub's negligence in maintaining a safe establishment, they may have grounds to file a legal claim against the establishment. By proving that the nightclub breached its duty of care and caused the patron's injuries, the victim can recover damages for medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering.

Steps To Take Immediately After The Incident

Following these guidelines will ensure that your well-being receives immediate attention while laying the groundwork for possible legal action. These steps will contribute to a fuller understanding of the situation and may lead to a successful resolution.

Seek Medical Attention

Even if the injuries are not immediately visible, the first thing you should do is see a doctor. A medical professional can assess and treat visible and internal injuries. In addition to treating your physical condition, medical treatment can provide you with important documentation that can be used as evidence in later legal proceedings.

Reporting The Incident To Law Enforcement

Contact the local police and make a detailed report of the incident, including any information about the bouncer, the nightclub, and the events leading up to the assault. If you report the offense, a formal investigation will be initiated, which may include obtaining witness statements and collecting additional evidence.

Remember, you must cooperate fully with law enforcement throughout the process to achieve the best possible outcome.

Gathering Evidence And Witnesses

You should gather as much evidence as possible to support any legal action against the nightclub or bouncer. This could include the following:

  • Taking photos of your injuries
  • Recording the location and time of the incident
  • Collecting contact information from possible witnesses

Securing evidence and witness statements can strengthen your claim, especially if legal action is taken against the bouncer and the nightclub.

If bouncers have assaulted you at a nightclub, the best way to get fair compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and possibly even non-economic damages is to retain an experienced lawyer to file an injury claim.

An attorney will ensure that all appropriate steps are taken when documenting your claim, such as photographing your injuries, getting witness statements, pulling medical records, and documenting the incident. Your attorney will also ensure this documentation is done properly and in accordance with the law so that it can be used in your claim.

Intentional Tort And Negligence Claims

An intentional tort claim is filed when we can prove that a bouncer or security guard knew what they were doing was wrong but did it anyway. For example, if a security guard cornered you in a bathroom and beat you up, it would be considered battery, no matter the reason for the altercation.

Your lawyer would then seek out any evidence to support this claim, such as security camera footage, witness statements, and records of previous misconduct by the bouncer. The more evidence we can uncover to support the claim of negligence, the more likely we are to get compensation in your case.

Dram Shop Laws

Another important aspect to consider when filing a claim against a nightclub is the dram shop laws. These laws hold establishments responsible if they serve alcohol to patrons who are already visibly intoxicated or to minors, and the excessive consumption of alcohol eventually leads to injury or property damage.

If a bouncer's assault is related to the victim's excessive consumption of alcohol, the club may be liable under the Alcohol Abuse Act. Florida’s dram shop laws (Florida statute 768.125) are similar to the ones found in other states, with one key difference.

Florida’s laws only pertain to “the sale” of alcohol to someone who is already intoxicated. The law doesn’t penalize an establishment for continuing to serve alcoholic drinks to an individual if it’s not their first drink of the night at the location.

Speak To A Negligent Security Lawyer About Your Claim

If you’ve been injured by a bouncer or security guard while out at a bar or nightclub, you should contact the Weinstein Legal Team right away to speak with an attorney about your claim. Your case review is free, and you won’t pay anything for our legal services unless we win your case.

Call us now at 888.626.1108 or click here to schedule your free case review with a negligent security lawyer near you.

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