Nightclubs can be great places to let loose after a long week at work, but they can also be dangerous. If you add alcohol, a crowded setting, and an act of aggression, you could have a serious mess on your hands. This is often the attitude bouncers have; they are the people charged with keeping nightlife as peaceful as possible. Bouncers can be overzealous and overreact to potential threats, however. If a bouncer has ever assaulted you, you might wonder if you can sue him or her or the nightclub. It depends on the situation and the interpretation of the law.
What Can a Bouncer Do?
Injuries caused by bouncers can lead to contentious litigation, since the line they tread tends to be a bit foggy. On the one hand, they’re supposed to maintain order in what can be an unruly situation. On the other hand, they’re duty bound to do this without causing any harm.
Bouncers, like other employees, are required to exercise reasonable care around their guests. Unfortunately, their job duties are broad and open to interpretation. Most jurisdictions assume bouncers are allowed to use a “reasonable amount” of force to maintain peace in a volatile environment.
If they breach this duty, a court can find bouncers guilty of negligence. Intent doesn’t play a role in determining negligence, so a bouncer can be negligent even if he or she injured someone accidentally.
The following is a list of things a bouncer might be able to do:
- Check IDs
- Issue verbal warnings
- Ask unruly patrons to leave
- Break up fights
- Call the police
- Protect bystanders from violence
- Respond to equal force when indicated
- Refuse entry for certain reasons – for example, if a person seems too intoxicated, is acting unruly, or doesn’t comply with the policies of the establishment
What Is a Bouncer Not Allowed to Do?
Bouncers are trained to de-escalate situations through verbal tactics and removal. Contrary to what we see on television, they’re not allowed to strong-arm patrons without cause. These are examples of what bouncers aren’t allowed to do:
- Punch or kick any patron
- Physically rush someone to remove them from an establishment
- Use techniques like chokeholds or headlocks
- Use pepper spray or any weapons
Bouncers aren’t allowed to use any physical techniques unless they’re used against them first.
I Was Wrongfully Assaulted. Now What?
If you think a bouncer has wrongfully assaulted you, you may sue for damages. Take the following actions:
- Make a written report while the incident is still fresh in your mind. Note the date, time, injuries, and circumstances leading up to the incident.
- Keep copies of all your medical records, receipts, and insurance claims. The court will use these to determine a settlement amount in the event that you win a lawsuit.
- Retain copies of all pay stubs if you missed work as the result of your injuries. You may be entitled to compensation for lost wages.
- Request a copy of the police report.
- Get contact information from the bouncer, management, and any witnesses.
Do I Need a Las Vegas Lawyer?
If you think you have a case for negligence, your first step should be to hire a Las Vegas personal injury lawyer who can tell you if there would be legal recourse against the responsible party or parties. Most law firms offer a free initial consultation. This will give you an idea of whether you have an actionable case.
Bouncers must maintain order without engaging in physical violence. If you’ve been injured in an altercation with a bouncer, speak with an attorney about a personal injury claim.