Can I Sue If I Was Injured in a Violent Confrontation?

September 28, 2021

Bars and nightclubs witness violent clashes sometimes were an innocent bystander may sustain injuries from a fight in which they had no role. If this ever happens to you, be sure to seek legal consultation and act in time for securing a compensation. In this article, we’ll discuss if you can sue someone and for how much.

The nightlife in Boston, as in most other large cities, is vivid and colorful. Most bars and pubs are decent establishments with a controlled environment, loads of fun and excitement, and a safe atmosphere for all. However bar fights can and do happen, and these violent confrontations can turn nasty in a split second, after all, never mix personal beef with alcohol, the result is never good.

Even if you were an innocent bystander with nothing to do with the fight, you might get injured by stray punch or flying glass, or worse a bottle. Drunken fights are not just action sequences in Hollywood films, they are pretty real and devastating. If you felt that the said establishment failed to create a safe enough environment for you, then you should consult a lawyer about your legal options.

In this article, we’ll explain what we mean by violent confrontation, how it can become a bodily injury case, and why you should get lawyers involved as soon as possible.

Understanding Violent Confrontations & Who Can You Sue

Bar fights are just one example of violent confrontations.

Such an incident does not necessarily have to happen in a bar, instead, it can happen on a street or an office building, anywhere. As long as the incident takes place because of someone’s negligence, i.e. over-serving alcohol to someone, inadequate security measures in a premises, and so on, you can file a personal injury claim against the negligent party.

For the sake of simplicity, we’ll discuss bar fights in this article although the same logic dictates similar situations in different settings.

Let’s imagine that you were an innocent bystander in a bar when a fight erupted and you got injured as a result, so who is liable for your injuries? Well, common sense dictates that the person who injured you will be primarily at-fault for the damages (criminal activity or negligence).

But does it make sense suing them with a civil lawsuit for your economic and non-economic damages? Well, not much because they might probably not even be insured or even if they are, perhaps their coverage might be inadequate for your case, thus you should avoid rushing through the situation.

Your best bet would be to sue the establishment for failing to protect you when they should’ve.

This can be tricky depending on the exact details of your case but if you can prove that the negligence of the establishment was linked to the confrontation that caused you damage, you’ll be able to sue them for the damages.

You’ll have to prove that they failed to take adequate security measures.

This would be the ideal situation, but how do you prove liability against the establishment, we’ll discuss that in the following section.

How To Sue The Establishment?

Considering that you entered into the fight involuntarily, i.e. you did not start it/participate in it but were pulled into it, you can sue the establishment for their neglectful behavior in that they let the fight happen and thus take the fault for any damages that resulted from it.

For this to apply, you’ll have to prove two things:

  • Firstly, you’ll need to show how the establishment failed to keep their visitors safe from a foreseeable source of criminal conduct/disorderly conduct.
  • Secondly, you’ll have to deal with the burden of proof, you’ll have to develop a causal link between this negligence and the damages you sustained.

But since you were harmed by another patron, proving these two might be a bit tricky, however, it is possible. For instance, according to the dram shop laws, establishments like bars and pubs need to monitor how much they’ve served their customers and avoid over-serving them, especially if they are intoxicated.

If the assaulter was inebriated, then you can claim that the establishment failed to uphold this duty of care and is thus responsible for the harm you sustained.

Secondly, the establishment was also responsible for keeping you safe from any certain harm. If they failed to create a safe atmosphere in their premises, then any damages you sustained could be considered a result of negligence as per premises liability laws.

For instance, if the security staff was lacking, then this will be considered a breach of duty, because the threat of violence was there because of alcohol.

Thirdly, if you can prove that the establishment violated some laws about alcohol distribution, i.e. by serving underage individuals, exceeding the hours of operation limit, or using illegal substances in their drinks, then you’ll be able to prove negligence with relative ease.

We saw that establishing negligence on part of the establishment itself is not impossible, so, if you do get involved in such a violent confrontation, you should never lose hope for justice and fair compensation for your losses.

What To Do After Such An Incident?

Here’s a quick rundown of steps you need to tick off your to-do list if you ever get involved in a violent confrontation and plan on suing for damages:

  • Gather firsthand evidence, i.e. photos, videos, contact information of eyewitnesses, and so on
  • Seek medical treatment as soon as possible and keep your medical records with you
  • Document your economic and non-economic losses
  • Contact the police and tell them the details of the incident
  • Get a copy of the police report
  • Inform the establishment owner about the incident, you’ll have to do this within a fixed duration depending on local laws
  • Contact a lawyer and discuss your case with them
  • Proceed with settlement negotiations or file a personal injury lawsuit
  • Be sure to do all of this within a two-year period of time, i.e. the statute of limitations

Call Us Today To Explore Your Legal Rights & To Claim A Fair Settlement

We explained in detail how bar fights are a type of premises liability and the same applies to other establishments where a lack of safety measures can endanger people via confrontations involving physical violence. Just to make it clear: if the confrontation could’ve been avoided through timely action, you can establish negligence in the case that it happens.

But to do that and more, you’ll need the legal representation of experienced and qualified attorneys. Our team of lawyers at Michael Kelly Injury Lawyers are perfectly capable of handling cases such as these and delivering fair compensation to our clients. We have in the past, handled premises liability claims with apt professionalism, bearing great results, and we’ll carry this on in the future as well.

If you’re worried because of financial constraints or simply because you don’t feel that you can bear through the legal process, then don’t let that come in your way. Look at what you can get out of this, all that is needed is a little patience, and since we work on a contingency fee basis, you don’t have to worry about paying us upfront.

Call us today, and we’ll show you how we can make a difference!

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Michael D. Kelly has a diverse background that provides a breadth of legal knowledge that he draws upon in serving his clients. Kelly compiled an excellent academic record during his three years at New England Law in Boston.