Bar fights may only last for a moment, but the fallout from them and all they can affect can be extensive. Brawls at bars and nightclubs can carry legal ramifications, but where does the fault rest? Is it the drunk and disorderly patrons who exchanged punches and kicks? Or is it on the shoulders of the place of business where everything occurred?

Your bar and nightclub clients have to be aware of what legal issues they may face when personal injuries happen on premises. Not only that, there’s the matter of broken pieces of furniture, busted glass or bouncers who act unnecessarily rough. It’s important to know the role bars and nightclubs face when bar fights happen and people get injured.

Insuring Your Clients

Before fights take place and legal matters are brought up, bars or nightclubs of any kind—from college bars to happy hour locations for seasoned executives—need to take responsible steps to keep their place safe and integrity intact. Having Nightclub Insurance program that includes Assault & Battery and Liquor Liability coverage will provide the finances they need to pay for legal representation and prevent its doors from closing.

Who’s Liable?

Depending on who started the fight, someone is coming out of an altercation as the responsible party. There are laws, such as mutual affray, that detail a mutually agreed upon fight, but in general, when a spontaneous fight erupts, someone has to carry the blame. But while the two or three parties involved are mulling over who to go after in court, they have every right to turn their attention the bar they were at, particularly if they were served there.


People who took part in a bar or nightclub fight can make a claim for damages against the establishment. This is a standard personal injury case that points to negligence on behalf of the bar. If the fight was agreed upon, then the bar or nightclub is not at fault. But someone can successfully take a place of business to court by proving that the nightclub was negligent, which led to injuries.

What courts will look at is the role that alcohol played in the fight as well as the bar’s staff, security and alcohol service policies. All bars and nightclubs have the responsibility to provide the right amount of security for their patrons, and they do this in part by not over-serving alcohol.


A bar or nightclub has to provide the right amount of security, especially if it’s a popular place or in a generally dense area, say, a street filled with bars or near a college. A bar that is known to be high energy, generally busy on weekends and late nights, and is known for being a little testy should be operating with a high amount of caution. Everything from hiring multiple bouncers to securing tables and chairs to the floors and walls will help to prevent injuries.

Alcohol Use

A bar or nightclub has the responsibility to not over-serve patrons who come in, no matter what day, event or time. There are laws in place to not serve alcohol to already intoxicated customers. If a bar breaks this law it can be held liable, especially if fights break out.

About RMS Hospitality Group

At RMS Hospitality Group, our expertly crafted policies are written specifically for the hospitality industry. We offer custom tailored solutions to meet any venue’s specific needs. For  more information, contact our knowledgeable experts today at (516) 742-8585.

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