I was attacked at a New Jersey bar by a patron who was very drunk. What can I do about my injuries?


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Bar fights and other types of incidents like sexual assaults happen quite frequently at bars and restaurants in New Jersey. Oftentimes, the injured individual files criminal charges against the perpetrator. However, many individuals are completely unaware of their civil legal rights. Here is a common question: I was attacked at a New Jersey bar by a patron who was very drunk. What can I do about my injuries?

A: Individuals injured in bar fights may be entitled to compensation for their injuries, from not only the perpetrator, but also the bar, if bar employees (bartender, server, etc.) were negligent in serving alcohol. Each case is unique and the statute of limitations may be an issue. Therefore it is crucial to discuss the case with a bar and restaurant liability lawyer immediately.

Under New Jersey dram shop law, bars and restaurants can be sued for negligence in serving alcohol which leads to a fight, mishap or car accident. Under the law, bar fights resulting from negligently serving alcohol are reasonably foreseeable. A bartender or server should certainly realize that when they serve alcohol to a patron who has already had too much to drink or they serve a minor, a fight or accident can result. The key is having sufficient evidence that the bar or restaurant was negligent. Negligence is generally defined as the failure to do something you should do, or doing something you should not do.

More: New Jersey Bar & Restaurant Liability for Negligently Serving Alcohol

Success of a bar/restaurant alcohol negligence case often depends on whether a witness, employee or former employee can testify that the perpetrator was visibly drunk, intoxicated or otherwise belligerent. Therefore, it’s important to begin the investigation as soon as possible. In bar fight cases, it is also important to look for other facts, such as whether the perpetrator was previously known as someone who was aggressive towards other patrons or whether the bar made it a habit to be overcrowded and in violation of local occupancy laws. These facts can help to prove negligence.

Bar Restaurant AlcoholBy filing a civil lawsuit, an injured bar patron may obtain monetary compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, it is important to note that the statute of limitations may be an issue. Under New Jersey law, a plaintiff has two years from the date of the accident or incident to sue any person or business which is liable for the injury. For minors, they must bring their claims within two years after their 18th birthday. In any bar or restaurant liability case, it is important to have the case evaluated immediately to determine liability and any statute of limitations issues.

Want more legal info about bar/restaurant liability for alcohol related accidents? Visit our alcohol liability law library.

To submit your case for review by our New Jersey bar and restaurant alcohol liability and accident lawyers, call Click To Call. We have multiple offices in New Jersey: Cherry Hill, Atlantic City and Iselin.

Our lawyers are available for a free, no obligation legal consultation, and can obtain special admission in other states, such as New York or Delaware, on a case by case basis.

**This website does not provide legal advice. Every case is unique and it is crucial to get a qualified, expert legal opinion prior to making any decisions about your case. See the full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.

Last updated: March 10, 2015