Determining Liability in Bar Fight Cases

Many bars and nightclubs are perfectly peaceful, quiet public places where everyone gets along. Unfortunately, this is not always so. Other bars and similar establishments are the source of arguments and fights on a regular basis. If you have been attacked in a bar, or were otherwise injured in a bar fight, you probably wonder if you have a possible legal case. Below is more information about bar fights and the complex legal aspects at issue.


The first assumption of this article is that you did not start the fight or did not agree to it. Assuming you were attacked or were injured as the result of a fight you did not plan, the assailant or aggressor will be liable per intentional tort law. Many people who start bar fights may not have insurance or assets, so it may not be worth the time and money to sue the assailant. You may instead want to focus your legal energy on the bar itself.

If you or a loved one has suffered bar fight injuries in Georgia, we encourage you to contact David Mann to learn more about your legal options.


Making a claim against a bar or nightclub for your injuries from a bar fight is a typical personal injury lawsuit. It revolves around negligence. The only exception is if the fight in which you were injured was agreed upon by both parties. In this case, the bar will not be held liable. To prevail in a lawsuit against a bar for your injuries, you must prove negligence on the part of the establishment, and that the negligence caused your injuries. How do you do this when another person attacked you, not the bar itself? Most legal claims against bars involve an assailant who was intoxicated, so at issue usually is the alcohol service and security for the bar.

All bars and nightclubs have a duty to make reasonable efforts to provide security for patrons. Further, all bars are required to avoid serving excessive alcohol to customers.


Bars must make a reasonable attempt to provide security, based upon the environment. For example, a bar that generally serves older patrons going to the symphony does not typically require a heavy security presence. However, a bar that is known for fights and disagreements, and/or the use of drugs in the restrooms, is a very different situation. Stricter security measures are required. For example, reasonable security measures in this type of bar could include giving people drinks in plastic cups, to avoid glasses and bottles becoming weapons. Also, more fight-prone bars should have several bouncers on hand at busy times and may need an off-duty police officer to provide bar monitoring.

Alcohol and Dram Shop Laws

Bars and nightclubs have an obligation to monitor customers to ensure they are not being over-served. Lawsuits that arise out of injuries that are caused by intoxicated customers at bars and nightclubs are based on “dram shop laws.” If someone becomes intoxicated and attacks you at a bar or restaurant, you may have a potential dram shop lawsuit.

State or City Law

If the bar has violated a local or state law, the violation can cause legal liability for the bar or restaurant. For instance, if the bar is serving beer to customers who are underage, or is open past last-call, these violations could help you to file a lawsuit for personal injury.

Suing a Bar For An Injury Sustained

As in all personal injury cases, there are several things you can do right after the incident that will assist you in making a legal claim later. If you have been attacked in a bar, report the altercation to bar management immediately. Not reporting the attack or fight immediately does not bar you from filing a claim, but you still should not delay. Juries and insurance companies often question how legitimate a claim is if it was not reported within 24 hours. Next, obtain the names and contact details for any bar fight witnesses. It also helps if you can get witness testimony about the aggressor’s behavior before the fight occurred. Not every witness to a bar fight wants to cooperate, but the more you can get on your side, the stronger your case will be.

We Know Bar Fight Laws. Contact Us.

Bar fight cases have many legal complexities, and the personal injuries involved can result in large settlements or verdicts. If you have been injured in a bar fight that you did not initiate, contact David Mann to schedule a free consultation. We’ll make sure you get the compensation you deserve.

Attorney David Mann

Attorney David MannBefore leading his own firm, Mann served for several years as in-house defense counsel for a large insurance company, which gives him unique insight into how insurance companies work. He uses this critical knowledge as an advantage for his clients. He is a tough negotiator and litigator, and he is exceptionally strategic in building cases on behalf of personal injury victims.[ Attorney Bio ]


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