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Attorney Sanga Turnbull

Who’s Liable for Your Bar Fight Injury Inside or Outside a Bar in FL?

On Behalf of | Aug 3, 2020 | Personal Injury

Unfortunately, brawls and fights are not an uncommon occurrence inside and outside of bars, nightclubs, and other alcohol-serving establishments. But who can be held liable for your injury if you were injured during a bar fight or shooting in Florida?

Shooting at an Orange County After-Hours Club

In July 2020, at least two people were injured during a shooting at an after-hours club in Orange County. The incident occurred at around 4:20 a.m. Friday, according to News 6 WKMG. The gunfire reportedly happened after a fight in the parking lot between two males, ages 23 and 33.

Under Florida’s premises liability law, anyone who visits a bar, restaurant, or nightclub is considered an “invitee.” Property owners and occupiers are required to maintain their premises free of any unreasonable hazards. Premises include not only the inside of the bar, but also the alley, parking lot, and other adjoining areas.

Adequate Security Measures and Bar Fights

A property owner’s legal responsibility is to ensure their visitors’ safety and wellbeing. When it comes to protecting visitors from bar fights and shootings, the bar owner may be required to ensure adequate security measures. What constitutes “adequate security measures” depend on many factors, including:

  • The size of the premises;
  • Whether the establishment serves alcohol;
  • The maximum capacity of the establishment;
  • Surrounding properties or areas from which visitors are likely to be drawn;
  • Customers’ propensity toward violence; and
  • Any past incidents involving fights or shootings.

In other words, the higher the risk of a fight inside or outside of a bar, the more robust security measures should be.

Florida’s Dram Shop Law and Bar Fights

In many states, alcohol-serving establishments can be held liable for injuries to third parties caused by their intoxicated customers. This is called the dram shop law, which imposes liability on bars and other establishments that serve alcohol to visibly intoxicated persons.

For example, dram shop liability may apply when an intoxicated patron leaves the premises of a bar and injures another person during a fight outside the bar. Also, the bar can be held liable when a visibly drunk customer gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle and causes an auto accident in an impaired state.

However, Florida’s dram shop law is a little different. Under the Florida Statutes Section 768.125, an individual or business can be held liable for damages caused by an intoxicated person who they served or sold alcohol to when:

  • The intoxicated person is under 21 years old; or
  • The drunk customer is known to have a drinking problem.

Thus, you cannot generally sue a bar if you have been injured during a fight or shooting inside or outside of a bar or another alcohol-serving establishment. However, you may be able to file a premises liability lawsuit against the bar if you can prove that the establishment failed to protect you against foreseeable harm. Often, this means proving that the bar did not have adequate security measures in place.

In most cases involving injuries as a result of bar fights, the injured party can sue the person who caused their injury. It is vital to speak with a skilled Lakeland personal injury attorney at The Turnbull Firm to determine liability in your particular case. Contact our attorney by calling at 863-324-3500.