Who’s liable when you’re hurt in a bar fight?

If you get hurt at a bar or in a place that serves alcohol, it’s important to know who will be liable for your injuries. For example, imagine you’re at a bar and someone attacks you. Who would be held responsible for your injuries? Is the premises liable for allowing the person to become intoxicated? Is the person who attacked you the only one responsible for your injuries?

One theory of liability states that the landowner or owner of the premises should be held liable as the owner of a bar or tavern has a requirement to protect its customers from the dangers of those who become intoxicated. Under law, premises liability will go under commercial general liability, which is a kind of insurance all bars or taverns should have.

The bar owner won’t always be the person held responsible for injuries, but in some cases, he or she can be. For instance, if the owner knows a particular person is a danger to him or herself or others when intoxicated, then he or she should not serve that person or make sure the person doesn’t become intoxicated. It’s his or her responsibility to protect others on the premises from harm.

If the owner didn’t know and had no reason to think he or she’d served too much alcohol to an individual, the situation could change. If the owner attempts to cut off someone who has had too much to drink or even escorts him or her to the door, then it can be said that the owner took reasonable steps to prevent others from being injured by a drunken party. Your attorney can look at your situation and determine who may be held accountable when you want to make a claim.

Source: Insurance Journal, “Understanding Premises and Dram Shop Liability Triggers,” Denise Johnson, accessed Dec. 18, 2015