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Phoenix Bar Fights Lawyers


Phoenix Bar Fights: What to Know if You Get Injured

Bar fights are an unfortunate reality of the nightlife scene. After one too many drinks, tempers can flare and altercations break out. While bar fights may seem harmless at first, they can quickly escalate and lead to serious injuries. If you’ve been injured in a Phoenix bar fight, you may have grounds for a personal injury claim. Here’s what you need to know about bar fight injuries and liability in Phoenix.

Common Causes of Bar Fights

There are a few common triggers for bar fights in Phoenix:

  • Excessive drinking – When patrons have had too much to drink, their judgment becomes impaired. Small disagreements can quickly turn into physical confrontations.
  • Territorial disputes – Fights over pool tables, seating areas, or even romantic interests are common in bars. Patrons may become aggressive when defending their “territory.”
  • Insults and unwanted advances – Exchanges of insults or unwanted sexual advances frequently spark fights in bars. In some cases, these advances escalate to assault.
  • Crowding issues – When bars become overcrowded, patrons are more likely to bump into each other, leading to arguments and shoving matches.
  • Disputes over tabs – Disagreements over bar tabs and cover charges sometimes end in blows being exchanged.

No matter how the fight starts, bar brawls can cause serious injuries like broken bones, head trauma, and facial lacerations. Being aware of common triggers can help you avoid confrontations in bars.

Who Can Be Held Liable?

If you’re injured in a Phoenix bar fight, who can you hold legally responsible? There are a few potential parties:

The Aggressor

The person who initiates the fight can be sued directly for battery. However, many bar fight aggressors lack sufficient insurance or assets to pay out a large claim.

The Bar or Club

Under premises liability laws, business owners have a duty to keep their establishments reasonably safe. Bars can be sued if they fail to prevent fights through adequate security and staffing. Liquor liability laws also require bars to stop serving intoxicated patrons who pose a safety risk.

Bouncers or Security Guards

If a bouncer or security guard uses excessive force while removing someone from a bar, they can be sued for battery and negligence. However, bouncers often have immunity if they use reasonable force to stop a fight.

Other Patrons Who Join In

Patrons who willingly join into a fight already underway can also be sued for battery. Eyewitness testimony is crucial for identifying all participants in a brawl.

To receive compensation, your attorney will need to demonstrate that the defendant failed in their duty to provide a safe environment.

Common Injuries from Bar Fights

Depending on the circumstances, bar fight injuries can range from minor to severe. Some common injuries include:

  • Facial cuts and bruises – Punches to the face often cause lacerations, black eyes, broken noses and knocked-out teeth. Permanent scarring is possible.
  • Head trauma – Falls to the ground along with blows to the head can lead to concussions, bleeding in the brain and even traumatic brain injuries.
  • Broken bones – Fights involving tackles, restraints and punching can fracture bones in the hands, arms or legs.
  • Spinal cord injuries – Forcibly hitting walls, railings or furniture may damage vertebrae and spinal discs. Some spinal cord injuries lead to partial or total paralysis.
  • Organ damage – Kicks, stomps or blows to the abdomen can damage organs like the spleen, kidneys and liver.
  • Eye injuries – Scratches, torn corneas and even detached retinas are possible if the eyes are targeted.
  • Hearing loss – Boxing the ears can lead to eardrum rupture or inner ear damage.

Any loss of motor function, sensory capabilities or bodily function due to a bar fight should be thoroughly documented. Be sure to seek immediate medical care.

Gathering Evidence for Your Claim

Proving liability after a bar fight can be challenging without solid evidence. Here are some tips for gathering evidence to support your personal injury claim:

  • Get contact info for any eyewitnesses, as their testimony will be crucial.
  • Take photos of your injuries at the scene, and continue documenting as they worsen.
  • Immediately request a copy of the bar’s security footage showing the altercation.
  • Keep all medical records, bills and notes from doctors detailing your injuries.
  • Keep a record of how your daily activities and job performance have been impacted.
  • Document any permanent scars, sensory loss, or disability caused by the fight.
  • If applicable, gather police reports, ambulance call logs, and blood alcohol test results.
  • Research the bar’s history – have there been prior incidents or complaints?

The more evidence you can gather, the better your chances of proving liability and recovering maximum damages.

Damages You Can Claim

If you win your bar fight injury claim, there are a few categories of damages you can seek compensation for:

Medical Expenses

This includes ambulance fees, ER treatment, hospitalization, medications, surgery, physical therapy, and any other medical costs related to the fight injuries. Keep all receipts and request copies of medical records.

Lost Income

Track any time you missed from work due to recovering from your injuries. Also tally any future loss of earning capacity if you cannot return to your prior job. Support this with pay stubs, employer records, and vocational assessments.

Pain and Suffering

The physical and emotional trauma of bar fight injuries may entitle you to pain and suffering damages. The amount varies based on the severity and permanence of your injuries.

Disability and Disfigurement

If your injuries left you disabled or permanently scarred/disfigured, you can claim these damages. The amount is influenced by the extent of impairment or appearance change.

Punitive Damages

If the bar’s negligence was truly reckless or egregious, your lawyer may pursue punitive damages as a punishment. The chances of recovering these are higher if the bar had prior warning signs of danger.

Don’t hesitate to seek experienced legal counsel if you are injured in an Arizona bar fight. An aggressive lawyer can help you recover damages by negotiating a favorable settlement or taking your case to trial. Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning legal fees come out of any eventual settlement or award. With the right lawyer in your corner, you can pursue the maximum compensation allowed in your case.

Common Defenses in Bar Fight Claims

Although bar fights often lead to injuries, receiving compensation for your damages is not guaranteed. There are a few legal defenses commonly used to defeat claims:

  • Assumption of Risk – By voluntarily entering a bar, the defendant will argue you assumed the risk of foreseeable injuries like bar fights. However, this only applies to known, inherent risks that are unavoidable.
  • Contributory Negligence – If the plaintiff is deemed even 1% at fault for their own injuries, they cannot recover damages in Arizona. A minor act of aggression could jeopardize your claim.
  • Lack of Causation – The defense may dispute whether the defendant’s actions actually caused your injuries, rather than a third party or intervening event. Eyewitness and security footage help establish direct causation.
  • Lack of Foreseeability – The defendant will claim your specific injuries were not a foreseeable result of their conduct or conditions at the bar. But violent assaults are a foreseeable result of overserving alcohol.
  • Lack of Duty – A defendant like a bouncer may argue they had no legal duty to protect you from injury. But premises liability still establishes a duty of reasonable care.

With an experienced personal injury lawyer, you can anticipate these defenses and build arguments to overcome them. Don’t let a troublesome defense prevent you from recovering for your bar fight injuries.

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