Pub, Bar or Nightclub Injury Claims

Photo Credit: Barry Young

Bars and nightclubs can be risky places, sometimes bordering on dangerous. The combination of alchohol, dimmed lights and high spirits means there is a very real risk of slipping on spilled drink, falling on broken glass, and tripping over unseen obstacles or uneven flooring.

Drink-fuelled emotions can also lead to assaults and other criminal offences. Unfortunately, the reality is that having a good time in a pub, bar or nightclub can end in injury.

If you have fallen over, or tripped or slipped in a bar or nightclub, you may be able to make an occupiers liability personal injury claim for compensation.

DID YOU KNOW: According to the Health & Safety Executive, slipping and tripping are the single most common cause of major injury in UK workplaces, and the most reported injury to members of the public.

Slip, trip and fall claims

Have you been hurt in a slip or fall at a pub, bar or nightclub? Owners of those premises have a duty, under occupiers liability law, to take reasonable steps to protect members of the public from hazards on their premises. They must also provide a safe working environment for bar staff and their other workers. This involves assessing the risks and taking appropriate action.

This may, for instance, require them to clearly display warning signs, take on enough staff to clean up broken bottles and spilt drinks quickly, and ensure there is no frayed or uneven carpeting or bare cables that revellers can trip over.

Wet floors are one of the main causes of slippages in bars/nightclubs. Even floors that are not cleaned with the right detergents can created a slipping risk. But if effective policies and appropriate measures are implemented, slipping and trippings risks can be avoided.

If you have been injured as a result of slipping or tripping accident in a bar, or you’ve fallen over and injured yourself, you may be able to claim personal injury compensation from the bar/nightcub owner. If they were negligent because they breached their statutory obligations, they are liable under occupiers liability law.

However, you must be able to demonstrate you were not at fault, such as showing that the premises (for instance, the floor) were unsafe and there were no warnings; and your injuries were a direct result of their breach of duty of care towards you.

Do note, though, that reasonableness is a relevant factor: drinks are going to get split in a nightclub – but it may not be reasonable to expect a member of staff to be able to clear it up immediately. But if the spillage is ignored and you slip over and hurt yourself, the owner will be liable.

You also need to ask yourself whether you could be held partly responsible for what happened. For example, your claim could be disputed if you were intoxicated at the time.

DID YOU KNOW: In 2015-2016, slipping or tripping was the cause of 19% of non-fatal self-reported injuries to workers – around half the rate in 2000.

How do I start a claim?

You need to gather all the evidence you can get to make your claim, including any details of witnesses, photographs and medical notes. Find out who owns the nightclub/bar – as this will be who you will claim against. That said, the premises will be covered by public liability insurance which will cover this type of claim – so your claim will actually be against the insurer.

If you were injured while working in a bar/nightclub, make sure the incident is formally reported – and recorded in the accident book.

You must make a claim as soon as possible, because any legal proceedings must be started within three years of the date of the incident, otherwise your claim may be ‘time barred’. Most claims of this type are settled out of court, but you will need to have expert medical evidence before the claim can be settled.

See a personal injury lawyer to find out how to start your compensation claim. They will be able to advise on the merits of your claim, what evidence you need, and whether you could be held partly responsible for your injuries.

What to do following a bar or club attack

If you suffer the misfortune to be attacked and injured whilst on a night out then your first priority, quite rightly, will be to seek medical help and try to make a full recovery. The idea of seeking compensation following such an attack may seem like cashing in on bad luck, but the truth is that the ramifications of such an attack, whether they are physical, psychological, or financial, can have a detrimental effect upon your life for years to come. A serious personal injury could impinge upon your ability to earn a living and the trauma of a bar or club attack of this kind might lead to depression and other psychological problems. If you can demonstrate that you’ve suffered an injury, and that someone else was to blame, then you may well be able to make a claim for compensation.

DID YOU KNOW: According to the 2011/12 Crime Survey for England and Wales, 917,000 cases of violence were reported in which the victim believed their attacker was drunk.

Why to claim criminal injury compensation

Compensation isn’t intended to punish the person who attacked you, or to provide some kind of easy pay off, but is meant to help you start putting your life back together again as well as ensuring you don’t have to put up with financial losses to go with all your other problems. A part of any amount awarded to you will be calculated taking into account the nature of your injury, how severe it is and the impact it has had upon your life.

The rest of it will be purely financial in nature, intended to make sure that the bar or club assault you suffered doesn’t leave you out of pocket in any way. This means that you’ll be compensated for any direct expenses, such as medical bills and travel costs, as well as being given an amount intended to compensate for any drop in your ability to earn money. For this reason it’s imperative that you keep all receipts pertaining to your injury and any other records, such as the accident book of the bar or club in which the attack took place. This is also a good reason for seeking medical attention at the earliest possible opportunity – aside from the fact that your injuries will be correctly identified and dealt with in the safest manner it was also create an official record of exactly how you were affected by the attack.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA)

In many court cases, a person found guilty of attacking someone else will be ordered by the court to pay compensation to the victim, but there are many such cases in which the attacker remains unidentified and is never arrested, charged or found guilty. In cases such as this it is still possible to receive compensation by pursuing a claim via the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), a government run body which makes payments to innocent victims of violent crime whether the perpetrator has been identified or not.

SOURCE: CICA

A personal injury lawyer will be able to explain exactly what the best course of action will be, and will work, on a no win no fee basis, to build the strongest possible case. Even if you’d been drinking on the night of the attack you may be able to make a claim anyway, although any intoxication on your part may be taken into account when calculating how much compensation you might receive.

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