So you are out on the town with some friends at one of Las Vegas’ exciting nightclubs and the unexpected happens, you are injured by an encounter with a club bouncer. It is an unfortunate reality in the city that likes to keep its’ secrets that people are injured everyday by an overaggressive club enforcer. It is important to know what rights you have as a patron and what the bouncers are legally able to do to keep order in their domain.
First of all it is important to know that club bouncers are regular citizens, they are not police or deputized. They do not have special dispensation from any authority to use excessive force in the execution of their duty to protect the club and other patrons. Bouncers are not allowed to use force or physical contact in their job unless they are assaulted first. They do have the right to defend themselves and they are very well trained in doing just that.
Bouncers may do the following:
Ask you to leave the premises
Check your ID
Protect innocent bystanders
Call the police
Break up fights or disturbances
Issue verbal warnings
Respond with equal force in necessary
Most of these security personnel/ bouncers are trained to use restraint in dealing with the public, but that may become increasingly difficult as a situation escalates, which it occasionally does when alcohol, egos and high tension couple to make the environment in clubs ripe for violent outbursts. The training for restraint may waver and someone innocent becomes injured in the heat of the moment.
Bouncers are allowed to use only reasonable force as a response to force or violence. This standard of care is a subjective standard, however, the laws in most states canonize that standard, stating that bouncers, like everyone, are allowed to use physical force only equal to the force being exerted on them in the situation, and that the value of that force is what a “reasonable person” would consider appropriate for the circumstances.
Bouncers are not allowed to do any of the following while discharging their job duties:
Hit or kick a patron
Push or physically throw someone out of the club
Restrain by use of chokeholds or similar techniques
Use weapons or pepper spray
Bouncers are subject to criminal and civil repercussions, just like everyone else, should they use excessive force or techniques that cause injury to either the object of their aggression or someone who is an innocent bystander. Although they are trained in passive and non-threatening crowd control methods, they may over-react and lash out in an unreasonable way, which might injure a patron or bystander.
What should I do if injured by a bouncer?
If you have been injured while inside or outside a club or establishment by private security personnel or bouncers you might entitled to monetary damages for medical bills, loss of income, pain and suffering and other losses as the law may allow. It is important that the incident, just as in a vehicle accident, get documented immediately.
Seek medical attention if necessary
Write a report on the incident as soon as you can after the incident, documenting the facts of the incident, what you were doing, who you were with, and what happened afterwards.
Document names and contact information on witnesses and bouncers involved
Look around, make a mental note to locate where any street or security cameras are located so that you might be able to gain access to the recordings should you need that for future litigation.
Contact a personal injury attorney, they will know how to protect your rights in these situations.
Most of these establishments will require a written report that you and the bouncer would sign. It is recommended that you give your name and contact information only and reserve your right to discuss your damages at a later and more appropriate time. Be sure to get copies of all that they use to document the incident. Your personal injury attorney will be able to assist in your recovery, both physical and financial, from damages received by an over-zealous private security person/bouncer.