Many people trust they will be safe when they go out to a bar or restaurant. Unfortunately, customers can be injured in many ways by the negligence of a bar or restaurant owner.
Victims can recover damages from a bar or restaurant if they caused or contributed to their injuries. Bars and restaurants must keep their premises safe for customers and check for foreseeable dangers. They must also follow food safety guidelines to ensure that patrons are not poisoned. A bar or restaurant can also be held liable if they overserve alcohol to a customer that later causes a drunk driving accident. Victims of these types of accidents can recover a wide range of damages.
If you have been injured in a bar or restaurant, our South Carolina personal injury lawyers can help you recover compensation from the negligent party. Contact Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers at (803) 451-4000 for a free case review.
Common Reasons to Sue a Bar or Restaurant for Injury in South Carolina
When you go out to a bar or a restaurant, you trust that the establishment will be safe and take good care of the food they prepare. Unfortunately, bar and restaurant owners do not always take their duties to their customers seriously, resulting in serious injuries. Negligence of this type can come in the form of unsafe premises, overserving drinks, or serving tainted food. Our Columbia personal injury lawyer can review your case to determine the exact cause of your injuries.
Premises Liability and Slip and Fall Injuries
Many victims’ injuries are caused because the bar or restaurant premises are unsafe. Bars and restaurants are responsible for keeping both the inside and outside of their premises safe from foreseeable dangers. For instance, serious injuries can occur if a business fails to clear its entrance and sidewalks of ice and snow or clean up a spilled drink or broken dishes before a patron gets injured. Conditions like these are also easier to miss when the bar or restaurant has poor lighting.
Overserving Alcohol to Intoxicated Patrons
Although bars and restaurants are motivated by profit, they cannot simply keep serving drinks to a customer who is intoxicated just because they are willing to pay. In South Carolina, bars and restaurants can be held liable for overserving alcohol to a person that later causes a car accident while under the influence. This is known as “dram shop liability.”
According to S.C. Code Ann. § 61-4-580 and 61-6-2220, bars and restaurants are prohibited from selling beer, wine, and liquor to an intoxicated person. To prove that a bar or restaurant is liable for the injuries a drunk driver caused, you must show that the business sold an intoxicated person alcohol and that the person who was overserved caused the accident in which you were injured.
Dram shop laws give a victim some powerful advantages when pursuing compensation. Bars and restaurants can be considered negligent per se, meaning that negligence is proved if you show the bar or restaurant violated the law. Victims can also recover the entire award for their damages from a bar or restaurant if they are found just 1% at fault for contributing to a drunk driving accident. This is extremely helpful if the defendant does not have enough insurance or finances to cover a victim’s injuries.
Assault and Other Forms of Violence
Bars and restaurants are great places to have a good time, but sometimes unfortunate incidents occur, and tempers flare. Except for cases of self-defense, nobody has the right to publicly assault or physically harm another person. If you were punched or involved in a fight, the bar or restaurant could be held liable for failing to provide adequate security or address a situation before it escalated.
You could also recover compensation if a bar or restaurant’s bouncers or staff assaulted you during an interaction. Security guards may not use force on another person unless in self-defense. So, if a bouncer injured you while handling you roughly or outright assaulted you, you can usually hold the bouncer and their employer liable. In some cases, the bouncer’s employer will be the bar or restaurant you were injured in. In other cases, a bar or restaurant will contract with a third-party company for security services, meaning they could be held accountable, as well.
Food Poisoning and Foreign Objects Found in Food
Food poisoning, foodborne illnesses, and cross-contamination are common causes of injuries at a bar or restaurant. Regardless of the particular ambiance an establishment is going for, it must have clean food preparation and serving practices to avoid making customers sick.
In the most horrifying cases, a foreign object might be found in the food you ordered. Foreign objects can cause serious dental injuries and internal damage if swallowed. Suppose you suffered food poisoning, a foodborne illness, or a norovirus after recently eating at a bar or restaurant. In that case, you might have a claim against the business for causing your suffering. Our Lexington personal injury lawyers can help you hold a bar or restaurant responsible if their negligent practices made you ill.
Damages You Could Recover for Injuries Caused by a South Carolina Bar or Restaurant
A wide range of damages might be available to compensate a victim for the financial and emotional damages they have suffered. In dram shop liability cases, victims can also recover punitive damages in addition to their economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are awarded to cover the monetary harm your injuries have caused. This typically includes medical bills, lost wages, and out-of-pocket expenses associated with treating your injuries. Because economic damages are given for provable losses, there is no cap on the amount you could recover.
Non-economic damages compensate a victim for the emotional harm and physical pain their injuries have caused them. These damages can be difficult to prove but can be shown with testimony about how your injuries have impacted your life and relationships. Like economic damages, there is no cap on the compensation you could receive for your pain and suffering.
If the reckless conduct of a bar or restaurant caused your injuries, you could also claim punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded as punishment for the behavior at issue. The most common example is when a drunk driver is overserved and subsequently causes an accident. Unfortunately, punitive damages are capped at three times the total economic and non-economic damages or $500,000, whichever is greater. Our Sumter personal injury lawyers can help you determine what compensation you can pursue in your case.
Our South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Can Help
If you were injured in a bar or restaurant, our South Carolina lawyers for injuries at a bar or restaurant can help determine who should be responsible for your injuries. For a free case assessment, call Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers at (803) 451-4000.