Yes. Bouncers are held to the same legal standards as ordinary citizens and are not afforded the same legal rights as law enforcement officers or trained security personnel. The bottom line is that these employees possess no legal right to physically remove or detain individuals except when acting in self-defense or protecting the safety of other patrons.
A bouncer could be potentially liable for your injuries in two ways. First, you may have been assaulted by a bouncer who was attempting to remove you from the premises. To secure financial recovery, you would need to prove that you were not posing a threat to yourself or others at the time of the incident and that the actions of the bouncer were not reasonable.
In another example, you may be able to sue a bouncer for liability in a personal injury case if they allowed you to get injured. For instance, if a bouncer allowed an intoxicated person into the establishment, and they assaulted you, the bouncer may be held accountable for not acting reasonably under the circumstances.
Bouncers Are Not Law Enforcement Officials
Contrary to popular belief, bouncers are not trained security guards, nor are they law enforcement officers. Therefore, their right to use force against another individual is no more robust than yours. Bouncers do not have the right to physically intervene unless their safety or the safety of others is at risk.
Bouncers have the right to:
- Issue verbal warnings
- Ask patrons to leave if they cannot adhere to the rules of an establishment
- Check identification and refuse entry to underage or intoxicated individuals
- Protect other patrons and bystanders from violence
- Employ reasonable amounts of force to contain individuals in the act of committing a crime
- Call law enforcement to remove individuals or intervene in physical altercations
If you suffered injuries due to the negligence or wrongdoing of a bouncer, you could file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against them. You may also be able to hold their employer or the bar or club accountable for your losses.
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Individuals Can Be Held Liable for Your Injuries
Every bar and nightclub patron understands the role of a bouncer. It is entirely within a bouncer’s rights to ask you to leave the premises if given good reason to do so. However, they must refrain from using force unless you pose a threat to yourself or others.
Bar and nightclub personnel are not immune to assault claims and will be treated as ordinary citizens in a court of law. If you or another patron is asked to leave the property and choose not to, a bouncer is expected to summon law enforcement rather than act in a physically aggressive manner. If they opt to intervene physically, and you are injured as a result, you could sue the bouncer and his or her employer for liability in a personal injury case.
If you have been injured by a bouncer and are thinking about bringing a claim against them and their employer or club owner, a lawyer can explain your rights. Every case is unique however and a successful claim will rest on the unique facts of your case.
Liability Applies to Nightclubs and Bars
Holding a bouncer personally responsible for your injuries alone may not result in an actual financial recovery since that person may not have any money or insurance to hire an attorney or pay your damages.
In most cases, a claim brought against a bouncer can also be made against his or her employer or bar owner to better ensure the possibility of financial means to pay for your damages.
For instance, if you were assaulted by a bouncer, the evidence may show that the establishment was responsible for the actions of that person since they failed to:
- Conduct a background check
- Properly train their employee
- Supervise the actions of the bouncer
- Retained the bouncer even after earlier episodes of poor behavior
Bouncers may be held accountable not only for taking unreasonable actions but also in failing to act to protect a bar or club patron. If you were injured by another patron, and the bouncer did not take appropriate measures to intervene or keep you safe, you may be able to argue that the establishment allowed you to get hurt. In these instances, nightclubs can be held liable for any personal injuries suffered as a result of an altercation with a bouncer or another patron.
Not every assault in a bar or club will result in a successful claim, however. Just because you were injured does not automatically entitle you to compensation. Every case is dependent on unique facts and circumstances. In order to build a successful claim against a bouncer and club or bar establishment, a thorough and careful investigation is required as soon as possible to build a strong claim. Some of the components of this investigation may include:
- Obtaining police and incident reports
- Securing video footage of the incident before it is destroyed
- Interviewing witnesses
- Consulting experts in bar or club security operations
- Demanding sworn statements from bar management and the bouncer involved
- Evaluating employment records and past incidents at the location
- Examining EMS and ER hospital records
Compensable Damages You Can Claim
If the evidence shows that you were injured due to the negligence or wrongdoing of a bouncer and his employer or bar owner, New York law entitles you to recover money damages for each and every type of injury you sustained. According to the American Bar Association (ABA), compensable damages could include money for your:
- Pain and suffering for all physical and emotional injuries
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish
- Future pain and suffering, if your injuries are deemed permanent
- Loss of services around the home
- Lost wages, both present and future
- Hospital and medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Out of pocket expenses due to your injuries
You may be entitled to recover money for other damages not listed above. When you work with a New York personal injury lawyer, they can determine the full range of damages you may deserve.
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Call Dansker & Aspromonte Associates Today to Learn More
Since 1988, Dansker & Aspromonte Associates has been representing clients throughout the New York City metropolitan area and fighting for their rights. Whether you were injured in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island, Nassau County, or Suffolk County, we can help you. Our goal is to secure the best possible outcome for you. Our injury lawyers will review your case, perform a careful and thorough investigation of your incident and injuries, advise you throughout the legal process and build a strong claim for you so that you can focus on your own recovery. Even if you are not sure whether you have a strong claim, call our lawyers for a free consultation. Don’t delay however as there are deadlines that limit your rights. If you fail to bring your claim by the legal deadline, you can be permanently prevented from recovering the compensation you deserve.
Call the legal team at Dansker & Aspromonte Associates at (212) 732-2929. If we agree to accept your case, you will not be required to pay us any money upfront. We only earn a fee when we recover money for you.