Can a Bar be Sued Following a Physical Altercation?
Imagine you’ve gone out for a few drinks with friends one evening after work, and after of a night of laughs and relaxation, you wind up being accosted by another patron at the bar on your way to your car. Suppose, after inadvertently offending this individual earlier in the night, he kept watch on you until your exit. Once out of the crowded establishment, he took advantage of your unsuspecting meander to your vehicle, assaulting you and leaving you for dead in the parking lot. Only later when others entered the parking lot were you discovered and taken to the hospital. While your assailant is clearly responsible for your injuries, is the bar liable to some degree, as well? A Jackson premises liability attorney can answer this, and other questions you may have related to the incident.
This hypothetical drama unfolded in the parking lot of a Mississippi bar. It leads to the question: Could the establishment be held liable for your injuries? There are several factors that must be considered as we weigh the question.
Is Premises Liability a Factor?
There is a possibility that premises liability could factor into the equation. The establishment owes patrons a certain duty of care. This means they must act with an appropriate level of caution and watchfulness in relation to those who spend time on their premises. While many people typically think of premises liability issues related to loose railings or spilled drinks that lead to falls, public safety issues encompass much, much more, as this scenario illustrates. In determining whether or not there are legitimate premises liability issues here, we might ask a number of questions:
- Was the parking lot sufficiently lit?
- What security personnel /cameras, and/or protocols were in place?
- Have violent incidents been common at this location?
- What is the history of police intervention in this area?
- Could a reasonable person have foreseen the possibility of such an event?
- Could reasonable actions have been taken to prevent this incident?
- Was alcohol consumption appropriately monitored and/or regulated?
These questions seek to address the issue of negligence on the part of the bar. If the establishment failed to take reasonable precautions to provide a safe environment for patrons and employees, they may ultimately pay the price in a lawsuit after someone is harmed on the premises.
Dram Shop Laws
MS Code 67-3-73 addresses the responsibility of vendors in situations where patrons become visibly intoxicated. In such instances, the establishment may be held liable if alcohol continued to be served despite obvious impairment in the event a person goes on to harm someone else. So whether the intoxicated individual proceeds to go out and have a vehicular accident, or attacks a fellow patron, the vendor may be held liable for damages.
Connecting the Dots
If you have suffered an attack in a parking lot, there is every possibility that the establishment bears some responsibility for the incident. What you need now is a heavy-hitting legal team to go to bat for you. At the office of Derek L. Hall, PC, that is precisely what you will get. Contact our Jackson office today for a free, confidential consultation.