Scenario One: You’re out with your friends at a Las Vegas nightclub when a fight breaks out next to you. Though you try to get out of harm’s way, another patron slams into you. And no matter how hard you try to get up and away from the melee, you are kicked and bruised as other patrons try to get away. In addition to bruises, you suffer two broken ribs, severely bruised fingers, and a concussion.
Scenario Two: Standing in line to gain entry into a one of the hottest nightclubs on the Las Vegas strip, a patron gets belligerent when the bouncer refuses him entry. He takes a swing at the bouncer but his fist slams into your face.
Scenario Three: You’ve had a great night out with your friends at an area nightclub. As you walk to your car, which is parked in the nightclub’s parking lot, you’re mugged and pushed to the ground, sustaining a broken arm and bruises.
Though these nightclub scenarios are not everyday occurrences, assault and batteries, even fatalities, at nightclubs do occur. An innocent night on the town takes a wrong turn and tragic circumstances occur. In addition to physical injuries, assaults can cause emotional suffering.
Premise liability laws establish the legal duty a property owner, i.e. a nightclub owner, has to anyone while they are on the property owner’s property. Nevada premise liability laws, which cover Las Vegas, require property owners, which include nightclub owners, to keep their properties, buildings and grounds, safe for patrons. This means Las Vegas nightclub owners not only must provide adequate security personnel or personal protection for their patrons, but also equip their buildings and grounds (hallways, parking lots, lobbies, etc) with sufficient lighting, locks, and any other features necessary to keep their patrons safe. When a Las Vegas nightclub owner fails to make their buildings and ground reasonably safe and a dangerous situation or condition arises on their property, they can be considered negligent and held responsible for injuries a patron sustains.
Proving a Las Vegas nightclub owner is liable for injuries sustained on their property is not always clear-cut, though. First it must be shown there are actually physical and/or emotional injuries. Next it must be clearly established that these injuries occurred on the nightclub owner’s property. If the injuries occurred off the nightclub owner’s property, it is much more difficult to show the nightclub owner has been negligent and is therefore responsible for the injuries sustained. For instance, if instead of parking in the nightclub’s parking lot, the patron parked two blocks away on a city street, the city of Las Vegas, and not the nightclub owner could be liable for the injuries.
After the first two issues are proven, evidence must then be presented establishing how the nightclub owner was negligent, that it was foreseeable injuries could incur, and that if adequate security measures had been implemented the injuries could have been prevented.