A. Jury Verdict in Negligent Security Case
A Bradenton, Florida jury awarded a Glober Firm client over $360,000 for injuries he suffered when a bar patron accidentally stabbed him while attempting to stab another customer. The case was tried under the theory that the bar provided insufficient security to prevent dangerous altercations such as this one.
B. Negligent Security Law
When a person is hurt as a result of a crime or a fight in a business such as a bar, restaurant or apartment complex, and the business owner knows or should know that such events are likely to occur on its premises based on past history of similar occurrences, the victim may recover damages from the business owner. Claims like this against a business owner are called negligent security claims.
It is true a victim also may make a claim directly against the perpetrator of violence against him, but frequently such perpetrators have no means of compensating a victim.
In this case, a fight broke out in a barroom and one combatant stabbed his adversary with a knife. Even worse, he also accidentally stabbed an innocent bystander, nearly killing him. Here is a link to a press report about the incident: Bradenton Herald Tribune
Predictably, the man who stabbed the innocent bystander had no money to pay the stabbing victim for his medical expenses (about $60,000 for surgery) or for his physical pain and mental pain and suffering.
It should be pointed out that the man who stabbed the bystander was never convicted of a crime, as he asserted successfully that he acted in self-defense against his adversary and his stabbing of the bystander was accidental.
C. The Trial
My colleague and I represented the victim in civil court in Bradenton. We proved to the jury that the bar owner should have had better security based on earlier instances of fighting in the bar. We also proved, contrary to the bar’s assertion, that our client was a bystander rather than willing participant in the knife fight. The jury found the bar owner was negligent in having too little security and this carelessness resulted in the victim’s damages. Fortunately, the victim became free of pain a couple of months after the stabbing, and, although he never saw a psychologist for the anxiety he suffered related to being stabbed, the jury was incensed by the bar owner’s lack of caring and negligent security, and awarded the victim over $360,000 in damages, mostly for mental pain and suffering. The total recovery, accounting for the victim’s court costs, was nearly $400,000. To the bar owner’s credit, he had liability insurance, which ultimately provided compensation to the victim.
The firm has handled a number of cases involving negligent security and is available to represent individuals and families harmed by a business’s failure to provide reasonable security measures, and to consult with other firms involved in such litigation.