Having a few drinks with friends is a time-honored tradition for many adults, and neighborhood bars can be one of the best places to indulge and socialize. Finding the right bar for you and your friend, or spending an evening bar-hopping, can be a wonderful bonding experience. Though different establishments cater to different clientele, a patron should have a reasonable expectation of safety at any bar.
By law, bars must provide a reasonable amount of security. What constitutes a reasonable amount of security might differ in its specifics, but if there is cause to think that violence might occur, a bar should have staff on hand to either prevent such outbreaks or to contain them quickly. Bars must also be aware of potential weapons in case of an altercation, such as heavy drink glasses and pool cues.
These policies might begin at the door, with staff available to check IDs and perform searches to make sure that no one is armed. Staff should also be patrolling inside, keeping an eye out for unruly patrons and communicating with other staff if a person has had too much to drink.
Knowing when a person has had enough is of particular importance to establishments that serve alcohol. Bars are negligent if they overserve due to “dram shop” laws. This applies to individuals who become violent due to drinking, and the liability extends to serving a drunk person who then drives while under the influence. If a drunk patron assaults another patron, the bar can be held just as liable as the person who throws the punch.
If you or someone you love has been injured due to a bar overserving, or due to any business not taking reasonable safety precautions, please consult with an experienced attorney. Determining exactly what reasonable steps should have been taken to prevent injury is an important part of building your case, and a skilled lawyer can walk you through the process.