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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.

Related: DUI Accidents in Philadelphia – Is the Bar/Restaurant Liable?

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.

Related: I was attacked by a drunk outside a bar. Is the bar liable?

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.

Overcrowding

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.