Most people, when going out to a bar or restaurant, are thinking about relaxing and enjoying themselves, celebrating a special occasion or triumph, or spending an intimate night out with someone special – and the furthest thing from their minds is the possibility of being injured in an accident. The unfortunate reality, however, is that devastating accidents can and do happen as a result of negligent behavior on the part of the staff and proprietors of these establishments, and the injured patron and their family is left to grapple with the medical, financial, and emotional consequences. When these accidents occur, it is only right and fair for the person who suffered the injury to be able to seek compensation for the harm done to them, with the help of an experienced premises liability attorney.

Bar AccidentIn a restaurant or bar setting, there are a number of things that have the potential to go wrong in such a way that creates a hazard for patrons, and it is the responsibility of the business owner to prevent, fix, or warn for those hazards in a timely manner in order to avoid accidents that may injure visitors. One obvious source of potential hazards is the spilling of food or beverages. Liquid or debris on the floor in paths where customers walk presents a danger of slipping and falling, compounded if any broken glass or crockery remains on the floor in the aftermath of the spill. Management has a responsibility to respond to any spills promptly, placing signage to warn patrons of the wet floor and cleaning up the spill as quickly as possible. If a stretch of floor is frequently wet as a result of regular use, such as the entrance during rainy weather or the space around a salad bar, the business should post signage cautioning customers of the hazard.

Another way that bar and restaurant owners may exhibit negligence that can cause customers injury is by failing to provide adequate lighting in stairwells, parking lots, and other such isolated areas. Not only can poor lighting make it easier to trip and fall over unseen obstacles, but the darkness also provides cover to criminals who consider inebriated patrons to be easy targets. Robbery and various kinds of assault are easier to commit in shadowed areas, which both obscure the attacker’s identity and conceal them from notice by their target until it’s too late. Installing and maintaining sufficient light fixtures to properly illuminate these areas helps to discourage this sort of criminal activity.

Perhaps the most obvious source of possible accidents at a bar is the service of alcohol itself. Enough potential exists for things to go wrong when alcohol service is involved that the State of New Jersey has enacted a set of laws referred to as “dram shop laws,” which address complications and accidents resulting from negligent service of alcohol. There are a number of ways in which negligent alcohol service can lead to accidental injury covered by these laws, including:

  • Failure to check IDs and serving alcohol to underage customers.
  • Over-serving visibly drunk patrons, resulting in alcohol poisoning.
  • Bar fights, or other types of assault committed by inebriated patrons.
  • Drunk driving accidents resulting from over-serving of customers.

In some of these cases, such as the over-serving of patrons who then get behind the wheel, serious injury can result even for people who never set foot in the bar or restaurant in question. The serving of alcohol is profitable for businesses and enjoyable for customers, but it also remains a serious responsibility for the establishments that provide alcoholic beverages. Even a single instance of negligent serving of alcohol can result in disaster, whether for the inappropriately served customer or the people around them.

Determining when a customer is too drunk to be served alcohol is a matter of judgment and exists in tension with the business’s natural interest in serving customers expensive menu items. That’s why it’s absolutely necessary for bars and restaurants to provide employees with the training necessary to determine when to refuse further alcohol service, and to support those employees when exercising that judgment in the face of belligerent customers. A server or bartender must not fear retaliation from management as a result of exercising caution and good judgment to avoid negligence.

In the aftermath of an accident at a bar or restaurant, especially an accident involving alcohol, determining the root cause of the accident and proving negligence can be a complicated and challenging task. That’s why having an experienced personal injury lawyer working on your case is so essential; your attorney can interview witnesses and staff, gather evidence, consult experts, and build your case demonstrating that the bar or restaurant owners failed to uphold their duty of care, and in doing so caused the accident that injured you.

Contact MyNJInjuryLawyer Howard P. Lesnik

If you or a loved one suffered an injury in an accident in NJ, you should contact an attorney familiar with handling these claims. An experienced NJ Injury Lawyer will know how to obtain medical records, videos, photographs, experts, locate witnesses and contact the insurance company so you can make a claim for your injuries.

My NJ Injury Lawyer Howard P. Lesnik, Esq. offers complimentary strategy sessions to address any issue or questions you may have for your injury claim in NJ.

Please contact NJ Injury Lawyer Howard Lesnik, Esq., immediately if you were involved in an accident. I personally handle NJ personal injury cases on a regular basis. Please contact me now by email, by phoning 908.264.7701, or by completing the form to the right to schedule your complimentary 30-minute strategy session. Call me direct and I will answer 5 questions that you have about your potential claim.

Bar Accident