We have become accustomed to security and bouncers at events such as night clubs, bars, sporting events, concerts and other attractions. For the most part, bouncers and security guards are important to the safety of all patrons and the event organizer or business owners. It is important to know that security guards or bouncers at clubs and events are regular citizens; they are not police and they cannot use excessive force on a patron. Bouncers do, however, have the right to defend themselves if necessary.
Bouncers are generally permitted to do the following:
- Check your identification;
- Ask you to leave the premises;
- Call the police;
- Protect innocent bystanders;
- Break up fights;
- Issue verbal warnings;
- Respond with force if necessary.
Most of these security personnel/ bouncers are trained to use restraint in dealing with the public but that may become increasingly difficult as a situation escalates. Bouncers are allowed to use only reasonable force as a response.
Bouncers are not allowed to:
- Hit or kick a patron;
- Push or physically throw someone out of the club;
- Restrain by use of chokeholds or similar techniques;
- Use weapons or pepper spray.
Bouncers are subject to criminal and civil repercussions just like everyone else. Although they may be trained in passive and non-threatening crowd control methods, they may over-react and lash out in an unreasonable way which might injure a patron or innocent bystander. Assault by bouncers or security staff can result in serious injuries, including broken bones, head injuries, traumatic brain injuries and, sometimes, even death. When security staff or bouncers are too aggressive and cause serious injury, they can be held accountable in a civil claim brought by the injured victim or their family. If you or a loved one have been injured due to the negligence of a bouncer or other security personnel at a bar, nightclub, concert, sports game or other event, you may be entitled to compensation.
Ontario has laws making the owners and occupiers of property responsible. Specifically, the Occupiers’ Liability Act requires that the owners and operators of bars and nightclubs, sporting and concert venues and other establishments, ensure that patrons are reasonably safe while they are on their premises. Employers of bouncers and security guards are also responsible to provide adequate training, instruction and supervision.
Often bouncers are employed in settings where alcohol is being served, such as at bars and nightclubs. The establishment has a duty not to over serve patrons. Even if you were intoxicated and acting inappropriately, the physical force used by the bouncer must be reasonable.
What Should I Do if I am Injured by a Bouncer?
If you have been injured while inside or outside a club or establishment by security personnel or a bouncer(s), you might be entitled to monetary damages for medical bills, loss of income, pain and suffering and other losses as the law may allow. It is important to remember the following:
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
- It is extremely crucial that the incident get documented immediately.
- Write your own report on the incident as soon as you can documenting the facts of the incident, what you were doing, who you were with, and what happened afterwards.
- Try to document names and contact information on witnesses and bouncers involved.
- Look around and make a mental note where any street or security cameras are located as you may need this for future litigation.
- Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately to protect your rights.
- At the time of the incident, staff of the establishment may want to speak with you privately. Just give your name and contact information only. Reserve your right to discuss anything else at a later and more appropriate time and be sure to ask for copies of any incident report that is made.
At Iacobelli Law Firm, we have extensive experience representing clients who have been seriously injured due to an assault at an establishment or an event. We are a dedicated Ontario Personal Injury Law Firm that provides compassionate and competent legal counsel and we offer a FREE Consultation so please feel free to call us at 1-866-234-6093. We are honored to serve our clients and our community.
Andrew Iacobelli is an experienced personal injury lawyer who established Iacobelli Law Firm with offices located in Ontario, Canada as well as offices in Florida, U.S.A. Andrew restricts his practice to the representation of personal injury victims in claims involving serious injuries and wrongful death.