When you bring together food, alcohol, crowds and music in pubs and bars this can very often lead to some people overindulging. Unfortunately, on occasion this can also lead to accidents and even violence and fights due to excessive alcohol – thereby leaving the business operators open to potential personal injury compensation claims.
If you’ve been the victim of an injury in a pub or bar and are considering a compensation claim it is worth noting that when on the premises the business operator has a duty of care to ensure your safety. We will now take a look at the various aspects of pub and bar injury compensation claims, what action you need to take and who may be liable.
Injured In A Pub Or Bar Due To Criminal Activity
Before we take a look at the process for claiming compensation as a consequence of an injury received in a pub or bar, it is worth noting that criminal activity is treated very differently. Where a violent crime has been committed this can obviously lead to both physical and mental distress which can in some cases change an individual’s personality and lifestyle. If you’ve been a victim of violent crime in a pub/ bar it should be reported to the police as soon as possible so they can attempt to locate the assailant.
There is a very useful system in place in the UK for those impacted by violent crime which is called the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. In simple terms this will compensate innocent victims of violence in the UK using a “balance of probabilities” scenario. This situation does not require the same degree of evidence as the courts where they work on a “beyond reasonable doubt” system. One of the more interesting characteristics of this particular scheme is the fact that compensation can still be paid out to victims assaulted in a pub or bar, assuming there is evidence to back their claim, if the assailant is found not guilty in the courts or even manages to evade justice altogether.
Compensation may be awarded for both pain and suffering as a direct result of the attack together with any connected financial outlay. This can include additional travel expenses, medical treatment, loss of earnings and future loss of earnings.
Common Pub And Bar Injury Claims
While much of the focus on pub and bar related injuries tends to revolve around violent crime and fighting, this is not always the case. There are other more common injuries suffered on pub and bar premises leading to injury compensation claims which include:
- Falls due to ill maintained equipment such as chairs and tables.
- Tripping on broken tiles and carpets.
- Slipping in flooded toilet facilities.
- Burns where hot food and beverages are served.
- Falls due to excessive crowding.
- Food poison where food is prepared and served.
When pursuing a pub or bar personal injury claim there are three tests used to decide negligence and potential liability for compensation. These are:
- Duty of care.
- Breach of duty.
In effect these three tests demonstrate that in the eyes of the law the injuries were caused by the defendant. In practice it may be a case of split liability between the defendant, claimant and other third parties. Where split liability is proven, this will have an impact upon the eventual compensation payment which will be revised to take into account the split between the parties.
Proving Negligence In Pub Or Bar Injury Claims
There are many examples of negligence when it comes to pub or bar compensation claims, the most common of which relate to:
- Substandard staff training.
- Badly maintained flooring and furnishings.
- Lack of crowd control.
- Lack of security.
- Failure to fulfil duty of care to customers.
- Misreporting of accidents and criminal activity.
- Serving customers obviously under the influence of alcohol.
- Lack of appropriate signage.
It is up to the claimant to prove negligence, on behalf of one or more parties, beyond reasonable doubt in order to pursue a successful pub/ bar accident claim. There will be situations where accidents occur, where customers have done nothing wrong and a claim might seem reasonable. However, if the pub or bar business operator has taken all reasonable steps to maintain the safety of the premises and those using the facilities, this may offer them a degree of protection.
There have also been numerous pub and bar accident claims relating to individuals who had consumed excessive alcohol prior to an accident. It is easy to assume that as they were under the influence they might not have a valid claim. The situation is not really that straightforward because where the pub/ bar business operator failed to ensure the safety of customers, be it badly maintained flooring or dangerous furniture, it is still possible to have a ruling of split liability.
We touched on this above; split liability means that blame is apportioned to two or more parties. If for example the defendant and claimant were each found to be 50% liable then the claimant will only receive 50% of any compensation award.
Starting A Pub Or Bar Injury Claim For Compensation
If you’ve been the victim of an accident or physical assault on bar or pub premises then you may well have a claim for compensation. The first point to consider is medical attention, this should be sought as soon as possible to enable a medical professional to assess the situation and administer treatment accordingly. By seeking medical attention this also ensures that your injuries are recorded and details of the incident noted on your file. It is also strongly advisable to inform the manager of the pub or bar where the incident occurred so that this can be noted in their accident record book.
If you believe that you have a valid pub/ bar injury claim for compensation it is vital that you write a detailed account of the incident. When it happened, where it happened, why it happened and any medical attention required. When in licensed premises there will likely be an array of potential witnesses and where possible witness details and statements should be obtained. When you have gathered all of the information surrounding the incident you should take advice from a personal injury solicitor. Our personal injury solicitors have experience of similar situations and by assessing the background information to the incident and the resulting injuries they will be able to assess the strength of your injury claim.
Compensation For A Pub Or Bar Injury Claim
When looking at claiming compensation there are two specific types of compensation which you may be entitled to. The first type of compensation is known as general damages and relates specifically to the injury including compensation for:
- Physical and mental trauma.
- Impact on a person’s lifestyle.
The level of general damages awarded in a pub or bar injury claim will depend upon the specific details of the incident and the injuries incurred. This element of any award is variable although there are guidelines to which the courts and insurance companies will often refer. The second type of compensation is known as special damages and includes:
- Loss of earnings.
- Loss of future earnings.
- Cost of medical treatment.
- Cost of future medical treatment.
- Additional transport expenses.
- Alterations to the claimant’s home.
Special damages are more straightforward because they directly relate to the reimbursement of specific pub or bar injury related costs as well as any expenses required going forward. In terms of the future cost of medical treatment and loss of earnings, the claimant’s representatives will obtain professional advice to present to the courts.
Settling A Pub/ Bar Injury Claim
Where negligence and liability for compensation have been proven beyond all reasonable doubt in a pub? bar injury claim the likelihood is that the defendant will settle out of court after negotiations with the claimant’s team. There will be cases where no admission of negligence is forthcoming which will likely result in a court case. This will leave the decision in the hands of the judge after assessing the relevant evidence from the defence and prosecution.
The issue of split liability is a little more complicated and often requires the intervention of the judge. The size of any potential compensation award will not be influenced by the split liability ruling but each party will only be liable for a certain percentage of the overall award.
If you’ve been assaulted or injured through negligence in a pub or a bar contact our personal injury solicitors to discuss the details and determine whether you can make a pub or bar injury claim right away.