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If I Get Hurt By a Bouncer, Can I Sue the Club for Damages?

By their job description, security guards and bouncers need to use intimidation and, in difficult circumstances, physical force to keep unruly or unlawful patrons in check. When someone gets too drunk at a bar and starts to cause trouble, the bouncer will need to calm them down or remove them from the premises, even if they do not want to go. When someone commits theft at a retail store or similar establishment, the security guards might be instructed to stop and apprehend them. But what happens when a guard or bouncer goes too far or makes a mistake, and the unruly individual is seriously injured? Can they sue for compensation?

Negligence or Maliciousness in Line of Duty

Security guards and bouncers, like any other employee in West Virginia or elsewhere in the United States, must not act negligently or maliciously while on-the-job. When it comes time to remove an unruly patron from an establishment, a certain level of care and reason must be exercised by the bouncer. This is to say that they do not have free reign to act as brazenly as they want in an attempt to restrain and remove the individual, such as attacking first, throwing the patron harshly into objects, and so on.

When a patron is injured due to the negligence or malicious intent of a bouncer or security guard, it might be possible to bring a lawsuit against that particular guard. If security personnel acts in a way that is so inappropriate it raises the question of whether or not they received any type of training from the employer, that employer might be partially liable for damages as well.

When Security Isn’t Liable

Establishing when security personnel isn’t liable is just as important as knowing when they are. As previously mentioned, security guards and bouncers are supposed to take action to some degree to eject unruly patrons from locations and events. In some situations, they may even be instructed to detain someone until the police arrive.

When this is done correctly and responsibly, the guard usually cannot be held liable for any harm that eventually comes to that patron. For example, a bouncer can physically lift someone off the ground, carry them to the curb, and let them off there without trying to slam them to the ground. Even if that drunk individual then trips over the curb and breaks their hand, it isn’t the bouncer’s fault. Security also gets excused from liability in most situations where they acted in self-defense, even if that means fighting someone much smaller than them.

Don’t Be the One to Decide Your Case

After being injured in an altercation with a guard or bouncer, it can be difficult to know if you have a personal injury claim or not. Rather than deciding that you don’t, or that it “isn’t worth the trouble” of filing a lawsuit, speak with our West Virginia personal injury lawyers at Berthold Law Firm, PLLC during a free consultation and let us know the details. Start by calling 304.605.2040 and we can see if you have the groundwork for a valid claim after getting hurt by security personnel.