Patrons injured at Las Vegas nightclubs can often bring lawsuits against the club to recover damages such as medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. Injuries for which a Las Vegas club might be liable include:
- Assault and battery by club bouncers,
- Lack of adequate security,
- Negligence of club employees,
- Slip-and-fall accidents,
- Sexual assault,
- Sexual harassment,
- Food poisoning,
- Alcohol poisoning, or
- Failure to get medical attention for dehydration or over-exertion.
To help you better understand when a Nevada nightclub is liable for damages, our Las Vegas personal injury lawyers discuss, below:
- 1. Who is liable for my Las Vegas nightclub injuries?
- 1.1. Negligence by Las Vegas nightclub employees
- 1.2. Intentional wrongful acts of a Nevada nightclub employee
- 1.3. Negligent hiring, retention or supervision of a Nevada nightclub employee
- 1.4. Discriminatory Las Vegas nightclub policies or practices
- 2. What damages can I recover if I am injured at a Nevada nightclub?
- 3. What if I am partially to blame for a Las Vegas nightclub injury?
- 4. What if I was injured by another patron at a Las Vegas nightclub?
Also see our article about getting beaten up for not paying a bar tab in Nevada.
Under Nevada law, responsibility for a wrongful act is usually limited to the person who committed the act.
However, under certain circumstances, a nightclub might become liable for the action of its bouncers, bartenders or other employees.
In Nevada, a nightclub owner or operator may be held legally liable for a patron's injuries when:
- An employee of the club performs his or her regular job duties negligently,
- The nightclub is negligent in the hiring or supervision of its staff,
- The club's policies or practices are discriminatory, or
- Under certain circumstances, an employee commits an intentionally wrongful act.
Let's examine each of these situations one by one.
The most common cause of Las Vegas nightclub injuries is employee negligence. Negligence can result in anything from a slip-and-fall or food poisoning to more serious injuries such as those caused by fires from overloaded circuits.
Under Nevada's respondeat superior doctrine (also known as vicarious employer liability) a nightclub is liable for injuries caused by employee negligence when:
- The employee was acting within the scope of his or her employment, and
- The injury was a normal risk of the employer's business.
Example: A waitress at a Las Vegas nightclub negligently fails to clean up a spilled drink. Sally, who is celebrating her birthday at the club, suffers a slip-and-fall accident. She blacks out and is taken to the emergency room at Sunrise Hospital to be checked for a brain injury.
Sally misses several weeks of work and requires several months of physical therapy. Because spilled drinks are a normal risk of serving drinks at a nightclub, the club can be held responsible for Sally's injuries.
Sometimes a club employee's actions consist not of negligence, but of an intentional wrongful act such as:
- Sexual harassment,
- Sexual assault,
- Assault and battery,
- Discrimination based on gender, gender identity or sexual orientation,
- False imprisonment, or
- Invasion of privacy.
Under ordinary circumstances, a Nevada employer is not be liable for intentional wrongful acts committed by employees. However, the employer may be liable if it was negligent in hiring, retaining or supervising the employee (as discussed below).
However, where the wrongful act is an inherent risk of the employee's job, the employer might nevertheless be held liable for an intentional act.
Example: After waiting in line for over an hour to get into a Las Vegas nightclub, Xavier starts berating the bouncer working the velvet rope. The bouncer takes issue and asks Xavier to leave. Xavier refuses and the bouncer punches him in the face. Physical violence is a risk of a business that engages the services of a bouncer. Accordingly, the nightclub might be liable for Xavier's injuries if the force was found to be excessive.
A Las Vegas nightclub might be liable for its own negligence in hiring, retaining or failing to adequately supervise an employee.
Nevada's law on negligent hiring, retention or supervision applies when:
- The club failed to conduct a reasonable background check of an employee,
- The club hired or retained an employee who was unfit for the position or posed a danger to patrons, or
- The club was negligent in supervising, disciplining or training the employee.
Example: A strip club in Las Vegas receives complaints from some of the dancers that the bartender has been sexually harassing them. The club ignores the complaints and the bartender goes on to sexually assault one of the women. Because the club was on notice of the bartender's inappropriate sexual conduct, the club is most likely liable for the dancer's injuries.
Both federal and Nevada law make it illegal for businesses to discriminate based on gender, gender identity or sexual orientation.
A Las Vegas nightclub might be liable for discriminating against a patron if it or an employee:
- Offers discounts to one gender but not the other,
- Refuses to let gay or transgendered individuals into the club, or
- Otherwise treats anyone differently than other patrons on the basis of gender, gender identity or sexual orientation, whether actual or perceived.
If you are injured because of the negligence or intentional torts of a nightclub owner or one of its employees or independent contractors, you may be entitled to recover for:
- Medical bills,
- Physical or occupation rehabilitation,
- Lost wages,
- Lost earning capacity,
- Legal fees, and
- Pain and suffering.
Our proactive Las Vegas injury attorneys will go over every detail of your case to make sure you receive compensation for all your damages.
Under Nevada's comparative negligence / shared fault law, a plaintiff is entitled to recover damages as long as one or more defendants were at least 50% liable for the plaintiff's injuries.
The amount of the plaintiff's damages will simply be reduced by the extent to which the plaintiff is liable.
Example: Ronnie is dancing at a Las Vegas nightclub when another patron bumps into him. Ronnie pushes the other patron off the dance floor and into a table. The other patron gets up and punches Ronnie in the face, breaking his cheekbone. The club's bouncer does not see the fight because he is busy flirting with a customer.
Ronnie sues the nightclub for his medical bills, scarring and pain and suffering. A jury agrees that the bouncer was negligent and values Ronnie's damages at $100,000. However, the jury also determines that by starting the fight, Ronnie was 40% responsible. Ronnie's award is reduced by 40% to $60,000.
Las Vegas businesses are not normally liable for the wrongful acts of other customers.
However, nightclubs have a duty to exercise reasonable care to prevent injury to their patrons and employees. This includes a duty to provide adequate security and supervision on its premises.
Example: A bartender in a Las Vegas nightclub sees a male customer pour something into Patricia's drink while Patricia is in the bathroom. The bartender decides it's none of his business. Patricia returns to the bar and finishes her drink. Later, the male customer leaves with her and sexually assaults her.
The bartender could have replaced Patricia's drink or called security. Since he did neither, the club may be responsible for civil damages for the sexual assault, even though the actual harm was done by another customer.
Injured at a Las Vegas nightclub? Call us for help…
If you or someone you know has been injured in a nightclub in Las Vegas or elsewhere in Nevada, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation.
Whether it's a slip-and-fall accident, food poisoning or a serious intentional tort, our Las Vegas injury and accident lawyers will fight for your right to compensation.
To schedule your free, no-obligations consultation, call us at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) or fill out the form on this page.
Even if you were drinking or think you were partially to blame, you have nothing to lose by talking to us. You might be entitled to more compensation than you think.
Learn more about suing for premises liability in Nevada.