Negligence Claims Against Bars, Restaurants & Clubs
Accidents and incidents involving alcohol are very common and often result in death and serious injuries. The three most common types of alcohol related incidents include:
- DUI (driving under the influence),
- assaults/accidents which occur inside a bar, restaurant or club, and
- assaults/accidents which occur outside or off the premises of a bar, restaurant or club.
Liability for a DUI – Negligence in Serving Alcohol
In general, a business like a bar, restaurant or club which serves alcohol in a negligent manner may be liable when a customer then gets into a DUI car accident and injures themselves and/or others. There are two prospective plaintiffs in these kinds of cases: 1. the drunk customer who suffered injury in the DUI accident and 2. other drivers and passengers who were injured in the DUI accident.
Many people are surprised to learn that an individual who is guilty of a DUI can turn around and bring suit against the bar, restaurant or club which served the individual alcohol. Under PA and NJ accident law, if a business was negligent in serving alcohol or otherwise violated liquor service laws, then it may be liable to parties injured in a DUI accident caused by a drunk customer, and that includes the drunk customer.
For example, a minor uses an obviously fake ID to enter a bar and is served alcohol to the point he is visibly intoxicated. A bartender continues to serve him alcohol. He is seen stumbling out of the bar with his keys in his hand. He gets behind the wheel and kills himself and a passenger. In this instance, both the drunk driver and his passenger may have valid liability claims against the bar.
Assaults/Accidents & Liability of Bars, Restaurants or Clubs
Negligence in Serving Alcohol
The same theory of liability may apply to situations involving assaults, fights or accidents which occur on the premises of a bar, restaurant or club. For instance, someone in a club might be served alcohol even after it is clear they are intoxicated. The individual then starts a fight with another customer. That customer may have a valid claim against the bar for negligence in serving alcohol, i.e., continuing to serve alcohol to the customer who was already visibly intoxicated.
Liability for serving alcohol is not just limited to assaults and fights. This theory of liability may be pursued in a situation in which a drunk customer wanders away from the premises, falls down an embankment and dies.
In assault and fight situations, a business may be liable for failing to control a crowd or essentially violating local ordinances with respect to maximum occupancy. For instance, due to overcrowding at a club, an individual may become injured due to being trampled.
Failure to Provide Adequate Security
Lastly, a business can be held liable for failing to provide adequate security, despite having had fair warning of a particular problem or danger. For instance, a bar in Philadelphia is known for robberies of drunk patrons in the bar parking lot. However, the bar does nothing to provide security or otherwise warn customers. A customer who is injured in a robbery may have a valid negligence claim against the bar.
If you or a loved one was injured in an alcohol related accident, please call our alcohol accident and liability lawyers at Click To Call.
Firm partner, Brian Kent, is a former prosecutor who now handles civil negligence cases. Our lawyers are licensed in PA & NJ and also handle alcohol accident cases in other states.