Nightclubs and bars owe a special duty of care to their patrons because of the nature of their businesses. People in such settings are consuming alcohol, often too much. Owners of these establishments are fully aware of the dangerous conditions which are inherent to intoxicated patrons who may become emotionally charged, angry and even violent. Innocent bystanders may be injured in a bar fight.
Nightclub and bar owners are required to train their staff in recognizing patrons who are becoming overly intoxicated and to stop serving them alcohol. Despite this duty, all too often bartenders continue to serve highly intoxicated patrons in order to boost sales and continue receiving tips. The duty to stop serving a drunk customer is at odds with the fact that many customers tip bartenders more as they become more and more drunk.
Once a customer becomes drunk their behavior becomes completely unpredictable. Their demeanor may shift from happy and friendly to hostile and dangerous on nothing more than a misunderstood statement from anther patron. There have been instances where a drunken patron was simply bumped by an innocent customer, took the accidental bump as a threat and literally stabbed the innocent customer to death on the dance floor.
Nightclub & Bar Security
Nightclub and bar owners hire security staff to prevent such incidents but often do not hire adequate security to police the entire establishment. The failure to hire sufficient security staff is usually financially based for the owner. Maximum occupancy limits only permit so many people, including staff, to be present in the building and a paying customer is more enticing to the owner than a paid “bouncer”, for obvious reasons. Additionally, many clubs do not actually count the number of persons in the establishment at any given moment, which can result in overcrowding.
Overcrowding & Fire Safety
Overcrowding results in an entirely new set of dangerous conditions. Maximum occupancy limits are established not simply for the comfort of the guests. They are established by the fire department fore safety reasons. If an establishment is overcrowded and an emergency such as a fire or explosion occurs, it may be impossible for people to exit the building safely and quickly. Many people have died because of such situations and some of those tragedies have received national attention in recent years.
What can you do?
If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in a nightclub/bar incident, you need the help of an attorney with experience in litigating such cases. The interplay between state and local fire safety codes, Alcohol Beverage Control regulations, premises liability and general theories of negligence are complex and require a great deal of technical analysis and expertise in all of those areas.
Call us today at (888) 778-8888 for a free consultation or Contact Us online.