St. Patrick’s Day is known for its festive spirit, featuring parades, delicious Irish-themed food, and abundant green beverages at popular Louisiana spots. However, the combination of crowded bars and heavy drinking can pose safety hazards, such as the potential for heated encounters among patrons that escalate into violent altercations.

If you’re hurt as a bystander or a victim of assault during a St. Paddy’s Day bar fight, you may be able to hold the property owner or another person liable for your injuries.

Read on to learn who’s liable for a bar fight and how our Louisiana premises liability lawyers at Dudley DeBosier can help you protect your rights and hold the at-fault party accountable.

Potential Liabilities in a Louisiana Bar Fight

When a brawl occurs in a commercial setting, it can result in severe injuries, affecting not just the individuals involved but also innocent bystanders. Those who are injured may have the right to seek compensation from the following parties:

The Person Who Assaulted You

The individual who assaulted you is the most direct party responsible for your injuries. Under Louisiana law, assault is a criminal act, and the aggressor can face both criminal and civil charges for their actions.

Whether you were targeted in an unprovoked attack or inadvertently harmed during a fight, you might have a personal injury case against the person at fault. Compensation via a lawsuit can help cover your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

The Bar Where the Fight Happened (For Negligent Security)

In Louisiana, foreseeability plays a crucial role in premises liability cases, including those involving bar fights. Foreseeability refers to whether a reasonable person or establishment could anticipate the potential for harmful incidents, like a fight, based on the circumstances. Here’s how it applies in a bar:

  • Past Incidents: If an establishment has a history of fights or violent incidents occurring there, it would be reasonable to foresee the possibility of future altercations. The bar is expected to take extra precautions.
  • Nature of the Establishment: The type of clientele, the nature of the establishment (e.g., a bar known for a rowdy atmosphere), and the general environment can impact foreseeability. Bars that often host events leading to elevated emotions or alcohol consumption might be expected to foresee a higher risk of fights.
  • Adequate Security Measures: Foreseeability also influences what constitutes sufficient security. Bars in an area known for violence or with a history of incidents are expected to have stronger security measures in place than quiet, family-friendly establishments.
  • Legal Obligations: In Louisiana, bars and other establishments must provide a safe environment for their patrons. This means foreseeing potential dangers and acting to prevent them, such as hiring security personnel, installing surveillance cameras, or training staff to handle aggressive situations.
  • Proving Foreseeability in Court: Holding a bar liable for a fight means proving that the harm was foreseeable and that the bar failed to take reasonable steps to prevent it. This often involves showing that the bar or its staff knew or should have known about the potential for violence and did not act appropriately.

Evidence like surveillance videos, statements from witnesses, or records of previous violent incidents at the location may be necessary to prove the bar’s negligence.

Both the Assailant and the Bar

Liability may not be limited to a single party. In certain situations, both the individual who attacked you and the establishment could be held responsible for your injuries. For example, if the bar served excessive alcohol to the assailant, contributing to their aggressive behavior, you could pursue legal action against both parties with the help of an attorney.

Assessing the level of liability for each party involved will vary based on the specific details of the incident. Our attorneys at Dudley DeBosier can analyze your case to identify the factors leading to the assault and determine the proportion of fault to be attributed in your claim.

Steps to Take if Injured in a Bar Fight

Following a bar fight, it’s important to prioritize your safety and preserve evidence to support a potential civil claim. Here are the steps you should take right after the incident:

  • Seek Immediate Medical Attention: If you are injured in a bar fight, seek medical attention, even if your injuries initially seem minor. Some injuries may not manifest symptoms immediately, and a medical evaluation can accurately assess your condition and provide documentation for your claim.
  • Report the Incident: Report the incident to law enforcement and, if possible, to the bar’s management. Filing a police report can help establish a record of the incident and may be necessary for any potential legal action.
  • Collect Evidence: Collect evidence to strengthen your personal injury case. Take photos of your injuries and get contact details and statements from witnesses.
  • Consult With an Attorney: A skilled personal injury lawyer can assess your case, establish who is liable, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you in court if needed.

Injured in a Bar Fight? Contact Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers

At Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers, we’re committed to supporting you after an injury. With our decades of experience, we understand that every injury-causing accident is unique. Along with physical injuries, there are often emotional and psychological effects that might need therapy and treatment for a full recovery.

Contact us today for a free consultation. We can help you accurately assess the value of your case, identify the at-fault parties, and address any questions you might have.

Disclaimer: This content has been reviewed by Chad Lederman, Director of Legal Operations at our New Orleans office.

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