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When a night out with friends lands you in the hospital

All you wanted to do was relax and have a few drinks with your friends after a long week at work. As the evening wore on, you began to realize that the atmosphere in the bar was changing as people became more intoxicated. You noticed that people's voices were getting louder, their behavior got more boisterous and some seemed emboldened by alcohol. Even so, that had never been an issue for you and your group before, so you went on with your night.

Then, for whatever reason, another patron attacked you. Fortunately, one or more persons restrained the attacker, but not before causing you serious injuries. Your relaxing night ended with you lying a hospital bed wondering what in the world just happened.

The attacker

More than likely, the police were called when the incident occurred, so your attacker may face criminal charges for the harm done to you. If that's the case, you may find the evidence prosecutors intend to present to the court indicating the guilt of that individual "beyond a reasonable doubt" useful in a personal injury claim. In addition, if prosecutors secure a conviction, that could also help bolster a civil action.

Even if you choose to forgive your attacker, you have medical expenses, lost wages and other damages resulting from the attack. You may be able to pursue compensation for your financial losses in a civil court action. However, here in Georgia, if you fought back, even to defend yourself or someone else, you may not pursue litigation.

The bar

Your attacker may not be the only one liable for your injuries. The owner or manager of the establishment owes you a duty to keep you reasonably safe. While no one can predict the actions of someone else, failing to take certain safety precautions such as the ones below could leave the bar open to litigation:

  • The installation of security cameras is just one way to deter criminal activity and keep people on their best behaviors.
  • Another way to deter criminal activity, including bar fights, is to hire security personnel or bouncers. If a bar knows fights are relatively common, this may be an essential step to protect patrons.
  • Refusing to serve an obviously intoxicated patron may seem obvious, but in a busy bar, staff members may not cut a person off in time, if at all. You never know if that one extra drink will push an individual over the edge from happily buzzed to violent.

The failure to take one or more of these measures could have led to your attack. The only way to know is through an investigation into the events of that night. From there, you can determine whether a civil suit against the bar is appropriate.

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