Is the bar culpable or only the batterer if someone was injured by drunken fighters? 14 Answers as of January 30, 2014

A patron exits a bar. A heated argument by two other drunken patrons got carried outside and the two other patrons began to physically fight right outside of bar doorway. The patron exiting, unaware that a confrontation is occurring, exits the door just as one of the fighters swings at the other fighter. Instead of hitting intended patron, the patron exiting door is hit and injured, requiring medical attention.

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Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
The bar operator may have violated its duty to not serve drunks.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/30/2014
David Hoines Law
David Hoines Law | David Hoines
probably not.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 1/30/2014
Fluhr & Moore, LLC | Steven S. Fluhr
In general, the answer is no.? However, under certain circumstances, the bar can be held liable.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 1/30/2014
James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C.
James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C. | Jim Hasser
Liability of the bar depends on the facts surrounding the drunks and the knowledge of the bar their activities. For the bar to be liable, you have to show it violated a rule or rules of the ABC Board and that the violation of that rule or regulation caused the injury. Criminal liability of the drunk (or drunks) is questionable due to the lack of intent to injure that specific patron. However, there may be civil liability if you can convince a judge or jury that the drunks were acting in a such a reckless manner as to have created a zone of danger into which the battered patron unwittingly entered.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 1/30/2014
Peters Law, PLLC
Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
Maybe. It wouldn't hurt to ask the bar to pay your damages. If the bar allowed the patrons to drink too much, you might have a case.
Answer Applies to: Idaho
Replied: 1/30/2014
    Kirby G. Moss PC | Kirby G. Moss
    In this situation, probably only the batterer liable since it sounds as though there is no connection to the bar.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 1/30/2014
    Candiano Law Office
    Candiano Law Office | Charles J. Candiano
    There is probably liability. More facts are needed to be sure.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 1/30/2014
    The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC
    The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC | Stephen R. Chesley
    If the assault happened inside bar you may have a claim against the bar. An altercation that occurred outside would be stretching the point against the bar owner. You should contact an attorney to discuss this matter further.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/30/2014
    The Law Offices of Russell Gregory, P.C.
    The Law Offices of Russell Gregory, P.C. | Russell Gregory
    The bar could be liable. Their bouncers may not have broken up the fight quickly enough, leaving a dangerous situation for other patrons, such as the one exiting. There may be other theories against the bar, as well (e.g., inadequate lighting causing the exiting patron not to see the fighters and walk into them, etc.). This would definitely have to be discussed in detail, to see what theories of liability could be discerned.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 1/30/2014
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
    Possibly, depending on available evidence: the bar could be held liable if it can be shown that they knew or should have known this was taking place, and that they had time to do something about it before the injury happened. Or, if it can be proven that they over-served the assailant who struck the blow. Unfortunately, such evidence is often not readily obtainable.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/30/2014
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
    If an employee of the bar was aware that there was a fight going on outside, failed to call the police, and enough time passed so that the police could have gotten there and broken up the fight, then the bar possibly could be held liable. The "batterer" as you put it would clearly be liable.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 1/30/2014
    Pius Joseph A Professional Law Corp. | Pius Joseph
    Depends on a lot of factors. Does the bar have a history of such fights? Was there security present? Such cases are tough. Need more facts before an opinion can be given.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/30/2014
    Pete Leehey Law Firm, P.C.
    Pete Leehey Law Firm, P.C. | Pete Leehey
    Without knowing all the facts, from what you have described, there is the potential for a case against the bar.
    Answer Applies to: Iowa
    Replied: 1/30/2014
    Wayne J. Wimer, Inc. P.S.
    Wayne J. Wimer, Inc. P.S. | Wayne J. Wimer
    The bar is not automatically liable for the torts of its patrons. If the fighters were minors who were served alcohol illegally there could be liability. If the bar served fighters who were obviously intoxicated there could be liability. If the bar had a history of over serving people and failing to control their crowds there could be liability. The answer depends upon the actual facts of what happened before the fight outside erupted.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 1/30/2014
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