A bouncer, security guard, and other safety personnel are employed to complete the unique job of making sure no one causes trouble, breaks the law, starts a fight, etc. while on their employer’s property. If any problems do arise, then it is generally up to security to get that person off the property, or even detain them until the police arrive. What are the limitations of a security guard, though? How far can they go to stop someone from making trouble? And if the person detained is hurt, is the guard or the employer liable?
Negligence & Overzealousness
Security personnel are permitted to take reasonable actions to remove a troublesome patron. Physically picking someone up and placing them outside the building, for example, is generally acceptable, even if that person tries to complain that they are uncomfortable during the process. Of course, guards also maintain the right to defend themselves and others from bodily harm. A person swinging a bottle around as a weapon in a bar probably cannot sue if they get hit by a fist or a Taser in response. “Reasonable actions” can only go so far, however. The moment a bouncer or security guard acts unreasonable, exercising negligence or overzealousness, the legal protections from liability are lifted. A patron harmed due to the general lack of carefulness of security personnel might be able to sue that guard directly, or the employer of the guard due to a lack of training. An example of negligence would be a bouncer at a bar being told to eject a drunk, rowdy patron. After bringing the intoxicated person outside, the bouncer shoves him off the curb, where he stumbles backwards into the street and gets struck by a passing car. No one should ever be pushed into the road as this act always exemplified gross negligence and a lack of care for human life, so the injured patron could likely create a personal injury claim. An example of overzealousness would be if a burglar breaks into a retail store at night to try to take money from registers. A security guard catches him in the act and the would-be thief stops what he is doing, puts his hands up, and sits on the floor to await detainment and the police. While the suspect is seated, the security guard hits him over the top of the head to knock him unconscious. This is clearly an act of unneeded aggression and would likely spark an injury claim.
Help After You Were Hurt by a Guard
Were you unnecessarily roughed up by a guard or bouncer? Did it result in serious injury or any harm that needed medical care? You might be able to create a lawsuit against the bouncer or establishment.
Talk to Williams DeClark Tuschman Co., L.P.A. and our Toledo personal injury attorneys to discover your rights during a free initial consultation. Dial 419.318.0772 to begin.