Tag Archive for: premises liability claim

Fort Lauderdale FL personal injury claim lawyer

Bar Fight in Florida: Who’s Liable When You Get Hurt?

There are more than 3,000 bars and nightclubs in Florida, catering to locals and tourists and serving up alcohol along with food. In an industry that mixes lots of people and booze there’s bound to be disagreements, brawls and battles between customers or between employees and customers.

Fights in bars and nightclubs can be frightening and dangerous not only to the people directly involved in the brawl but also to other patrons and bystanders. A bar doing brisk business on a busy weekend night can be filled with hundreds of customers, all of them possibly exposed to injury from flying glassware or overturned furniture or floors slippery from spilled drink.

What happens when you’re injured during a bar fight? Does it matter whether you were consuming alcohol? Does it make a difference whether you were directly involved in the battle or merely a bystander? What kind of care and protection does the bar owner owe its customers? Is the owner responsible for your injuries, medical expenses, and other losses such as damage to your clothes or other personal property?

Premises liability

When you visits a bar, nightclub or restaurant, you are an invitee of the establishment. As an invitee, you have a legal right to enjoy the premises safe from undue harm and injury. The premises extend to cover the parking lot, alley, and all other property the bar sits on.

Under the legal doctrine of premises liability, the bar owner must do all that’s reasonably possible to ensure your safety and well-being. To determine whether the owner did indeed meet this standard, the facts of each individual case must be considered. Review of the circumstances of each case answers question of whether the owner could have foreseen that an injury could occur.

Bar Owners’ Legal Responsibilities

The bar owner has a duty to operate the bar with a mind to customer safety. Adequate security should be in place, depending on the size of the premises, the maximum number of customers the place can hold, the surrounding area from which customers are likely to be drawn and their propensity toward drunkenness and violence. The more likely the chance of a fight, the greater the number of security personnel required.

The security staff has legal responsibilities too. They are lawfully permitted to use force equal to the situation and not more. A bouncer or other security member must be careful not to use excessive force when ejecting a belligerent customer and be aware of bystanders who could be hurt during the bouncer’s tussle with a customer.

Keep in mind that your degree of culpability also will be a factor. If you instigated the fight or joined in a free-for-all after it began, for example, the bar is probably not going to be found to be negligent or responsible for your injuries.

Dram Shop Laws

Laws that imposes liability on bars and night clubs that serve alcohol to visibly or obviously intoxicated patrons are called dram shop laws. These laws provide that the bar may be liable to pay damages to third parties who are injured by the intoxicated person. The injuries can happen on or off the premises, should the drunken customer start a fight in the street after leaving the premises, or drive while under the influence and cause an accident.

Under Florida law, individuals or businesses that sell alcohol in general will not be liable for damages or injuries caused by a drunk person who they sold alcohol to. There are, however, two exceptions:

Bars and taverns will be held strictly liable for injuries caused by selling alcohol to a person under 21 years old. “Strictly liable” does not require knowledge or intent by the bar owner or an employee who serves or sells alcohol to a minor
A bar will be held liable if it serves alcohol to a person known to have a drinking problem – courts have held that such persons create a foreseeable risk of injury because they lack the capacity to make responsible decisions regarding their drinking

Who You Can Sue

If you’ve been injured in a bar fight, the person or persons who were involved in the fight with you are the likeliest people to file a lawsuit. If you can prove the fight was started by someone other than you and that person assaulted you, you can legally recover for your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses.

Also, you can sue the owner of the bar where the fight happened. You will have to show that

The bar was negligent
The negligence led to the fight and your injuries

Where the bar ignores a customer’s inebriated condition and that customer starts a fight with another customer or an employee or the drunken customer creates a situation where other customers, bystanders, or employees could be injured, the bar could be liable for those injuries and other harm that results.

Additionally, if a bar does not have on the premises adequate security for the usual number of customers and insufficient security means a violent fight between customers can’t be stopped, the bar can be found responsible.

If you have been attacked in a bar or club, you should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible.

Proving Your Bar Injury claim

If you have been injured in a nightclub or bar, and you believe that the injury was a result of the property owner’s negligence, you will need to prove it. In order to prove it, you will need to demonstrate to the court that the bar owner owed you a legal duty of care; that the bar owner breached the duty of care owed to you; and that the breach of care resulted in your injuries. If you do not present sufficient evidence to prove this, you will be unable to recover compensation for your losses.

Consult an Attorney

If you have been injured in a bar fight or as the result of rough treatment by bar security, call for a free consultation with the personal injury attorneys at Madalon Law. The attorneys at Madalon Law are experienced in bar and nightclub injury law and will fight for your rights. We are based in Fort Lauderdale and serve clients throughout Florida. Let Madalon Law fight for you.

premises liability lawyer in Ft. Lauderdale

Do Florida Halloween Horror Attractions Present Injury Risks?

It’s the annual season of Halloween horror nights at theme parks in Florida and across the U.S. These parks, which during the day tout family friendly fun, turn into nighttime scare-fests more suitable for adult customers who thrill to the terrors of zombies, witches and ghosts that run amok, dripping blood and rotting flesh.

Amusement parks are huge operations serving up entertainment to millions of visitors every year. Add in the thousands of employees and vendors on the premises during business hours and you essentially have a small city with all the usual problems any city may have, including accidents.

Park injuries commonly reported by visitors include slip-and-fall, food poisoning, and harm resulting from being jostled on rides or being hit by debris flung off high-velocity juggernauts like roller coasters.

With the chills and thrills of horror nights, visitors may be exposed to additional dangers. Each year parks vie to outdo competitor parks and their own previous terrifying attractions, creating labyrinthine mazes where maniacs stalk every twist and bend and haunted houses where chainsaw-wielding spooks chase visitors through the halls.

Here are just a couple of examples of what theme parks have in store for visitors this Halloween: Universal Studios in Orlando will offer an “Immersive Paranormal Virtual Reality Experience,” where guests will wear VR headgear while exploring a horrific experience like no other. Similarly, Halloween Haunt at California’s Great America will offer FEAR VR: 5150, set in a hospital where guests are strapped into wheelchairs while wearing VR headgear and at the mercy of lunatic staff members.

Are Parks Liable for Injuries?

Special seasonal events like horror nights can be priced as add-ons to a general admission ticket, and the per-person cost can easily exceed $100. At these rates, it’s not unreasonable to ask whether parks are legally responsible for guests who suffer trauma when they are lost or abandoned in their mazes or faint when surprised by a costumed character jumping out of the shadows.


Often to protect themselves from lawsuits theme parks will require that their guests sign waivers relieving the park of liability if a guest is injured while at the park. Many parks that host special events like Halloween nights will prepare waivers written specifically for hazards guests may encounter while participating in the event.

For the waiver to be legally valid it must:

Be clearly worded as to the intent to relieve the park of any and all legal liability, including liability for negligence;
Prominently display the terms and not conceal them in fine print;
Signed by the each individual guest, though an adult can sign a waiver for each minor child;

A waiver pertaining to an amusement such as a haunted house, also may include warnings for guests who have high blood pressure, heart problems, artificial limbs, pacemakers, or other physical limitations.

Even where a guest has signed a waiver, the park can be found liable when shown it negligently failed to:

Maintain equipment and all attractions in a safe condition and regularly inspect the equipment;
Properly train the ride operators;
Properly operate a ride or amusement;
Properly display safety requirement notices warning guests of the risks and dangers; or/and
Provide guests with correct safety instructions.

Guest Conduct

It’s not only park management that is required to act responsibly; guests, too, are expected to behave properly.

When you knowingly engage in an activity or event considered inherently dangerous, you are presumed to have assumed the risk associated with that activity. Arguably, when you participate in a horror event you acknowledge and accept the risks. But the risks must be those you reasonably could know about. It is not reasonable to expect you to know about a defective or poorly maintained mechanism in a ride or to know of special safety rules if you were not instructed on them.

If you ignore posted age, weight, or height requirements or deliberately lie about such limitations, the theme park may not be liable for your injuries if they result from your disregard of the rules. The park could still be held liable if the ride/attraction operator should have realized a guest was too young or too small or recognized an obvious disability that could expose you to greater risk.

Disclaimers on Park Tickets

Amusement parks usually print disclaimers on admission tickets relieving the park of all liability when you enter the park, extinguishing your right to sue the park. Courts tend to reject such disclaimers for being vague and all-inclusive and therefore unreasonable. Courts accept that most guests don’t read the tiny print on the back of their ticket, and a ticket holder who is a minor lacks the capacity to waive legal rights merely by virtue of redeeming the ticket.

Know the Dangers and Your Responsibilities

To protect yourself and your family, before buying tickets and before arriving at the theme park you should learn what you can about the potential hazards and possible age and physical restrictions. Go to the website of the park you plan to visit. You will find in-depth information on ticket price, passes, add-ons and more.

Look for warnings and disclaimers, which may limit the age of guests permitted to attend horror nights and require minors under a certain age be accompanied by an adult. Typically, parks will not impose an age limit on admission to their horror show but will recommend that persons under 13 or other age not participate.

If the park provides a copy of its waiver through its website, you should print out a copy and read it carefully. Some parks my demand that your party arrive 30-45 minutes early so that you can undergo safety preparation of some kind. You also can visit www.saferparks.org to learn tips for making your trip to a park safe and enjoyable.

If you are injured during a visit to a theme park, our experienced Florida personal injury attorneys can help. Call our offices today for a free case consultation. At Madalon Law, our Fort Lauderdale attorneys will always put your needs first.