Going out to a nightclub or bar after a long week at work is a great way to relax, have fun, and enjoy the vibrant nightlife of Santa Barbara. But what happens when a person gets seriously injured in a club incident? What happens if another disaster, like the Station nightclub fire in Rhode Island in 2003, the 2016 Oakland warehouse fire, or the famous Cocoanut Grove fire in 1942, rips through a crowded club?
Figuring out negligence and liability after a club-related injury can become incredibly complicated, as everyone involved tries to dodge responsibility and avoid paying for what happened. That is when an experienced premises liability attorney becomes essential to make sure your rights are protected and the people responsible for the accident are held accountable for your losses.
What Can Happen at a Club?
Major accidents and serious injuries happen in many different ways at nightclubs, bars, hotels, concerts, restaurants, and similar venues. Slips, trips, and falls are common due to poor lighting, crowded rooms, and wet conditions from spilled drinks.
Violent attacks can also occur, especially when loud music and alcohol create an environment for misunderstandings and poor decision-making. Negligent or inadequate security measures can also allow violence to break out.
There is also the potential for unexpected accidents, such as fires from pyrotechnics that are part of a live performance.
How Negligence Occurs
In a situation where someone is injured on someone else’s property, it is important to determine if someone acted in a way that was negligent or in contrast to how a reasonable person would act. For example, if the owner of a club tells the person at the door to let in more people than allowed by law for that location, the owner would be negligent. Similarly, if a band is allowed to perform with stage effects such as pyrotechnics in a bar that is too small for these effects to be safe, the band, its manager or label, and the bar owner could all have acted in a negligent way and be liable for the victims’ injuries.
The Question of Liability
Negligence is vital in establishing who is liable for an accident and the injuries or damages that it causes. Consider the previous example of a musical act that uses fiery stage effects. Suppose they cause a fire that burns people and causes respiratory distress. If the band, its manager, and its label knew those effects should not be used in such a small bar, but did so anyway, their negligence could make them liable for damages the effects caused. However, if someone is injured because he slipped on spilled water, completely unrelated to the fiery effects on stage, it does not make the band liable since their negligence was unrelated to the injury that occurred. In the case of a spilled substance, a separate legal analysis applies. Same thing for a large-scale disaster.
All of this can get complicated very fast, which is why anyone injured at a bar or nightclub should have an experienced slip-and-fall and premises liability lawyer to help them. Call NordstrandBlack PC at (805) 962-2022 and tell us what happened in a free consultation.