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Who is at Fault in Bar Fights?

Earlier in 2016, two different bars in Indianapolis had fights that resulted in deaths. These situations beg the question: is the bar responsible for the death in any way? In these two cases, neither bar was charged with negligence or sued. But in all cases, bars have a responsibility to keep patrons safe. How can they do that? The bar has a duty to provide a reasonable level of security and make sure it doesn’t overserve its customers, especially people who are already drunk when they enter the bar.


Bars are required to provide security at a reasonable level. If the bar is full of non-threatening people, this may be minimum security. In busy environments where a large group of people come together, security is usually expected. The same applies to places where violence occurs more commonly. And security doesn’t just involve having a bouncer. Serving drinks in plastic cups instead of bottles and having tables and chairs secured to the floor might be necessary security in a certain kind of environment.

Alcohol Consumption Monitoring

The duty of someone who sells alcohol to make sure they don’t overserve customers is called a dram shop law. These laws mean bars and restaurants can be held responsible for the actions of overserved drunk customers after they leave. If someone fights you at a bar or even after they leave, and they were overserved at a public establishment, the bar or restaurant might be liable.

Bars also must make sure they aren’t serving a drink to someone who is already over the limit when they enter. If you’ve ever seen someone cut off by a bartender, these dram shop laws are why.

Have you been injured while on someone else’s property? Christie Farrell Lee & Bell has an experienced team of Indianapolis premises liability attorneys who can help you explore your options.