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Liability When Security and Bouncers Go Too Far


If you are in a public place that serves alcohol, or the type of place where there is the chance that the general public gets rowdy, you may be thankful to have the bouncers there. A well trained bouncer can make sure that order is kept, and can minimize injuries, should fights or other violent altercations break out.

Who are the Bouncers?

But in many cases, bouncers aren’t trained law enforcement—in fact, they may not be trained in anything at all. Many establishments, seeking to keep costs low, will hire bouncers who are simply large, or who claim they can “break up a fight.”

Sadly, many bouncers themselves may have violent tendencies, which is why some may seek out the position in the first place.

Going Too Far

Just as you can be helped by a bouncer, you can also be injured by one. This often happens when a bouncer goes too far or uses more force than is needed to properly control the situation. Although a bouncer should “de-escalate” a situation, many aggressive and overzealous bouncers go far beyond this when an altercation breaks out.

The Victim’s Behavior

Bouncer injury cases can be difficult because in many cases, the reason why the bouncer is needed in the first place and the reason why the bouncer has to exert any force at all, is because the victim was doing something he or she should not have done. That doesn’t mean a victim deserves to be injured by excessive force, but it does mean that the victim may not be very sympathetic, to an insurance company or to a jury. It also means that more so than in other cases, the victim’s own behavior in the altercation will be highly scrutinized.

Who is Liable?

Anytime a bouncer goes above and beyond the reasonable force necessary to maintain order and safety, the bouncer, and the establishment employing the bouncer, can be liable. That includes bouncers that use too much force, or bouncers that continue to use force, even after the apparent threat or unruly behavior, has subsided.

Because most bouncer related incidents happen indoors, inside clubs, bars and similar establishments, there are often numerous witnesses to the altercation, and sometimes, even video surveillance.

Many establishments do not train bouncers properly, and the business can be held liable for the excessive force used by the bouncers. Many businesses miss (or completely ignore) areas of concern in bouncers’ backgrounds, like criminal histories. Negligent hiring, training and retention claims are common, and many bars and establishments do have commercial liability insurance policies, to compensate victims injured by bouncers.

Not Enough Bouncers?

Speaking of bouncers, on the other end of the spectrum, there can also be liability because an establishment did not have enough bouncers. This is close to a negligent security theory of liability, where the liability is from the insufficient security provided to the customers of the business.

Call the Knoxville personal injury attorneys at Fox Farley Willis & Burnette, PLLC, for help today.




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