Recent Tragedy Calls Attention to Nightclub Liability
When opening a nightclub, owners must take specific precautions to protect their patrons, employees and members of the public who may be in the vicinity. In legal terms, this is referred to as a duty of care, and when that duty is breached, owners may be held liable for damages. A Miami nightclub was reportedly the site of a tragedy recently when 15 young people were injured as gun shots rang out inside of the building. According to a report by USA Today, witnesses reported hearing more than 100 shots from at least four different guns. In response, patrons began to run outside, “inciting chaos inside and outside of the building.”
The youngest victim was reportedly 11 years old, which leaves police questioning why children were present in the nightclub setting. Of the 15 people treated at area hospitals, two were reportedly released and one remains in critical condition. However, inaccuracies in reporting is probable because several victims who drove themselves to medical facilities were not identified by law enforcement agents.
Security liability is an area of law that pertains to a business owner’s duty of care to prevent injuries from foreseeable harm. As it pertains to a nightclub, the owner’s responsibilities include:
- Providing adequate security – Nightclub owners must ensure that there is an adequate number of guards on duty for the duration of the event. They must also be qualified to handle foreseeable situations.
- Instituting security policies – Searches and metal detectors are often utilized at clubs to keep patrons safe. Owners should also ensure that the attendance numbers do not exceed the maximum legal capacity.
- Ensuring adequate exits – Owners must ensure that there are an adequate number of available, unblocked exits for patrons to use in case of emergency.
- Maintaining communication with law enforcement – Nightclubs are notorious for incidents of violence and negative behavior. Owners can practice due diligence by keeping in close contact with local policing agencies. Doing so can provide important information about suspected problems in and around the establishment. Owners can also request extra patrols during particularly crowded events.
- Surveillance cameras – Is difficult to keep eyes on every inch of the club at all times. Surveillance cameras are an effective way to monitor the grounds inside and around the club. They can alert owners to potential problems and assist law enforcement when investigations are necessary.
When incidents in nightclubs do occur, injured parties may choose to pursue compensation through several means. If the club is properly insured, you can make a claim against the insurance policy for remuneration. However, you may come across a situation where the insurance denies your claim or where the club owner is not properly insured. If this is the situation, you may have to file a lawsuit against the nightclub owner for compensation. This process is challenging, so the assistance of an experienced lawyer is valuable.
If you or a loved one has been injured in while patronizing a nightclub, contact the legal team of Pita Weber & Del Prado in Miami for knowledgeable and skillful representation. Call the office today at 305-670-2889 for a free consultation.