Premises liability is a legal theory that holds property owners responsible for accidents and injuries that happened on their property. Premises liability law requires that property owners ensure the safety of any person who enters their property. Premises liability includes taking all reasonable measures in order to accomplish this. This specific type of liability is generally associated with personal injury cases involving a person being injured because of unsafe or defective conditions on someone else’s property.
Negligence is the legal theory allowing injured people to recover for the carelessness of others. A person is considered to be negligent if they were careless, given the circumstances of the situation. The term refers to a person failing to exercise reasonable care, with that failure resulting in the injury of another person. Additionally, negligence focuses on a person’s failure to take certain precautions and actions, as opposed to the person’s direct actions. Premises liability claims are commonly based on this legal concept of negligence.
In order to prove negligence and premises liability, the injured party must prove the following four elements:
- The property’s owner owed a duty of care to the visitor or person injured on their property;
- The conditions on the owner’s property were dangerous, unsafe, or defective;
- The property owner was aware of the aforementioned condition, but failed to remedy the situation; and
- The injury occurred because of the owner’s failure to exercise their duty of care, which is to prevent the accident and any resulting injury.
Generally speaking, some duty of care is owed to another person in any situation in which a person may foreseeably be injured because of another’s actions, or inaction. A breach of this duty of care occurs when the property owner does not act as reasonably as another person would under the same circumstances.
Because of this, it must be proven that the property owner’s negligence was the “actual and proximate” cause of the injuries being claimed. This is also referred to as causation. Once the first three elements have been proven, the injured party must then prove that they suffered some quantifiable loss or damage resulting from the property owner’s negligence.
What Are Dance Club Injuries? What Are Some Common Examples of Dance Club Injuries?
Dance clubs refer to business establishments allowing patrons to dance and socialize, generally at night time. Such clubs are mostly restricted by age, such as no one under 21 years old allowed being allowed on the premises or in the club. Clubs may allow those above the age of 18 but under the age of 21, in which case under-aged drinking becomes more of a concern. Generally speaking, dance clubs are subject to city ordinances in terms of their hours of operation and closing times.
Many injuries occur inside of dance clubs due to the amount of people that are in the establishment at once. Dance club injury lawsuits are most often based on premises liability theory. When a dance club’s owner is negligent, which results in a patron being injured, the owner may be held liable for those injuries.
Dance clubs are associated with some very specific types of personal injuries. Some common examples of dance club injuries include, but may not be limited to:
- Slip and fall cases, especially due to slippery dance floors or back bar areas;
- Alcohol-related injuries, such as overserving a patron who then injures themselves while inebriated;
- Dangerous structures causing injuries, such as climbing or falling hazards;
- Injuries resulting from fights or assaults, generally caused by alcohol consumption;
- Injuries resulting from incidents with bouncers or other such security personnel; and
- Injuries resulting from overcrowding, overheating, and exhaustion, especially when the club does not adhere to capacity limits.
Who Can Be Held Legally Liable for Dance Club Injuries?
Landowner liability largely depends on the tort status of the victim. A victim may be held legally liable if they contributed to their own injury, separate from the actions of the property owner and their negligence.
Tort liability status can be represented by the following scale:
- Invitees: Customers or patrons who have been invited onto the property by the owner. They are owed the highest duty of care, which includes being warned of risks that the owner is reasonably aware of;
- Licensees: Social guests that have entered or remained on the property for purposes other than business. The property owner is responsible for warning licensees of dangerous conditions that they are aware of; and
- Trespassers: People who have entered or remained on the premises without the permission of the property owner. Generally speaking, a property owner does not have a duty to warn the trespasser of dangerous conditions.
When a patron enters a dance club, they have a reasonable expectation to avoid getting injured. However, the property owner still has a responsibility to maintain a safe environment. According to premise liability theory, property owners would be held liable for accidents and injuries occurring on that property.
Additionally, state law determines the liability of the dance club owner. Some states mainly focus on the status of the visitor, as previously discussed. A dance club patron would be considered an invitee, and as such, the property owner owes the highest standard of care to ensure the club is reasonably safe for all guests that enter the property. Other states may focus on the condition of the property when the guest has entered, as well as the activity of both the owner and the visitor.
Nightclub employees, as well as the nightclub itself, may be both held liable for personal injuries sustained by a patron. An example of this would be if a security guard or bouncer becomes overly aggressive toward a patron, and the patron is injured as a result of the aggression. There may be a valid claim for assault in which the patron may sue the employee as well as the nightclub for the injury.
Generally speaking, the employee would not have the money to pay the patron. It is for this reason that the patron should sue the nightclub as well as the employee, if they want a better chance of receiving adequate compensation for their injuries.
What Are the Legal Remedies for Dance Club Injuries?
Dance club injuries would likely be considered a form of personal injury. Generally speaking, most personal injury lawsuits result in a monetary damages award, or compensatory damages. This is a monetary amount paid to the victim by the liable party, intended to cover the plaintiff’s losses.
There are two main types of compensatory damage awards. Special damages are intended to restore the injured party to the position they were in, prior to the harm or injury. This most commonly includes quantifiable damages that can be calculated, such as:
- Medical expenses;
- Property damage; and/or
- Loss of wages or earnings.
The other type would be general damages. General damages may be awarded for losses that are not easily determined through monetary calculations. Some examples of this include losses connected with:
- Emotional distress;
- Defamation; and/or
- Loss of consortium or companionship.
In order to receive compensatory damages, the plaintiff must prove certain elements. They will most likely be required to prove that a loss has in fact occurred, and that the loss was caused by the other party.
To prove your claim, you should preserve and gather various forms of evidence that can be used in court to support your case. Examples of such evidence may include:
- Statements from witnesses;
- Photo or video documentation of the incident;
- Medical bills;
- Police records; and
- Physical evidence, such as broken glass, bruises, etc.
In some cases, the court may issue an injunction. This is a court order prohibiting conduct or requiring the defendant to take certain actions.
Do I Need an Attorney for Dance Club Injuries?
If you were injured while on the premises of a dance club, and you believe the property owner or an employee is at fault, you should consult with an experienced local personal injury attorney.
State laws regarding personal injuries vary greatly, and as such, someone who practices personal injury law in your area will be best suited to understanding what your legal options will be. An experienced attorney can help you gather adequate evidence to support your legal claims and can also represent you in court as needed.