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Can I Sue for Damages After a Bar Fight?

AssaultThere is nothing wrong with blowing off steam and having a few drinks in a bar from time to time. Sometimes, however, a bar can become dangerous. The consumption of alcohol in a party-like atmosphere can cause some individuals to become aggressive—often to the point of starting physical altercations. While most bar fights are nothing like you see in the movies, the reality is that any type of fistfight can cause serious injuries. If you have suffered injuries in a bar fight, you may be entitled to compensation.

Who Started it?

Your eligibility to collect damages will depend on several factors. First, it is important to determine who “started” the fight. While it may not seem fair in some cases, this will often boil down to who made physical contact first or who threw the first punch. There are exceptions, however, as you may have initiated the physical contact to defend someone else who was being hurt or threatened with imminent harm.

It is also important to establish whether you knowingly assumed any risks. For example, if the fight started because you got sucker-punched, you probably did not assume risk. If, however, a verbal altercation escalated to the point where you and the other party agreed to “step outside and settle it,” you may be considered to have assumed the risks inherent to fighting.

Other Possible Defendants

In addition to the person who injured you, there may be other parties who could share in the liability for your injuries. This potentially includes the owner of the establishment where the incident occurred and the staff on duty at the time. Bartenders and servers have a responsibility to maintain a safe environment for all patrons, and overserving an already drunk customer who then causes problems could leave the bar liable. Similarly, if security staff knew that a particular customer was becoming disorderly but failed to take action in getting that person out of the bar, they may also share responsibility.

Proving Your Damages

One other important element in collecting compensation after a bar fight is showing how the fight affected you. You need to have suffered some type of loss. Scrapes and bruises are not usually sufficient to warrant a lawsuit. If, however, your injuries were severe enough that you sought medical attention, missed work, or experienced psychological effects, you would be able to seek compensation for those losses.

Contact Us for Help

If you have been involved a bar fight and have questions about your eligibility for collecting compensation, contact an experienced San Jose personal injury attorney. Call (408) 289-1417 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at Corsiglia McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. today.

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