When you go to a bar, pub or nightclub, you expect to have a great time with friends in a safe and fun environment. However, the combination of alcohol, poor lighting and high spirits in such venues can lead to accidents with severe consequences for those involved.
If your life has been affected by a nightclub accident, you might be able to claim compensation. The most common causes leading to a nightclub injury claim include slips, trips and falls, criminal assaults on clients or staff members and injuries caused by broken or damaged facilities.
Under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957, the property owner or manager must comply with strict health and safety laws to reduce the risk of injury to clients and members of staff. Failing to do so could make them liable to pay you nightclub injury compensation if you have an accident on their premises.
To find out if you have a valid nightclub accident claim, enter your details into our online claim form or call 0800 678 1410 to speak to a legal adviser. If your case has merit, they will offer you a no win no fee service so you can claim without any upfront costs or financial risk. If your claim is unsuccessful, you won’t pay a penny.
Can I make a nightclub injury claim?
Bars, pubs and nightclubs are supposed to be carefree places where people go to socialise and have fun. However, accidents and acts of violence in these establishments are upsettingly frequent and could result in severe injuries to customers and employees.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury due to the negligent or intentional behaviour of another person, you might be able to make a nightclub accident claim. Nightclub injury claims primarily fall into three broad categories:
Accidents at work to staff members
To bring a nightclub injury claim against your employer, you need relevant evidence to show that:
- They breached their duty of care toward you by acting negligently
- That caused a nightclub accident
- You suffered an injury or injuries as a result
Criminal injuries to clients or employees
Criminal injury claims are usually made through the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority (CICA). Some of the eligibility criteria to make a CICA claim for nightclub injury compensation include:
- You reported the accident to the police and have a crime reference number
- You cooperated with the authorities in their investigations
- You are an ordinary resident of the UK
- The assault took place in the UK
- You do not have any unspent criminal conviction
- Your injuries were significant enough to take legal action
Under the Occupiers’ Liability Act, private business owners must take all reasonable measures to protect the health and safety of customers and visitors on their premises. If you were injured in a nightclub, you should be able to make a nightclub accident claim if:
- The owner of the nightclub owed you a duty of care
- They breached their duty by acting negligently
- Their negligence caused you to suffer an injury
You do not have to worry about proving a duty of care. Based on the circumstances of your accident, your solicitor will refer to the relevant legislation to prove negligence. They will also help you gather relevant evidence to show that your accident was due to someone else’s fault.
As a general rule, you have three years to make a nightclub injury claim for negligence. There are several exceptions to this rule:
If the victim is under 18 years old, the three years to start a claim begin to run out once they become a legal adult on their 18th birthday. Before that, a litigation friend, typically a parent or guardian, could claim on their behalf at any time.
- If the victim lacks the mental capacity to claim, the time limit to take legal action is suspended and only begins if they recover their capability.
- Criminal injury claims through the CICA must be brought within two years of an attack or violent assault.
- If you suffered an injury abroad, the time limit to make a nightclub accident claim could vary considerably from country to country.
What legal responsibilities do nightclub owners have?
Two main pieces of legislation set out the legal responsibilities of nightclub owners:
The Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 bestows a legal duty on nightclub owners to ensure the safety and well-being of visitors on the premises. This means that customers should not be exposed to any unnecessary or foreseeable risks which might cause them an injury.
If the owner can show that they took all reasonable steps to avoid accidents and injury, they may not be held liable to pay you nightclub injury compensation. Some of their duties include:
- Regular risk assessments of the premises
- Identification and control of potential hazards
- Keeping the premises in good repair
- Have a reasonable system in place to clear up hazards such as spilt drinks or broken glass
- Signpost slip and trip hazards
- Ensure emergency exits are clear at all times
- Avoid overcrowding
- Make sure there is appropriate lighting in all areas
The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 sets out the legal responsibilities of nightclub owners towards their employees. According to the Act, employers have strict liability for personal injuries in the nightclub if they fail to:
- Carry out risk assessments and implement adequate risk control measures;
- Provide appropriate training and ensure employees are effectively supervised;
- Implement suitable control measures such as visible CCTV to provide reassurance;
- Supply relevant safety equipment and information about safety policies;
- Allocate the appropriate level of staffing to ensure employee safety;
- Provide a clean and secure working environment;
- Provide safe storage and adequate welfare facilities.
Many other laws aim to protect employees and customers from accidents, including:
- The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992
- The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH)
- The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989
- The Manual Handling Regulations 1992
- The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
Common examples of negligence and breach of duty leading to a nightclub injury claim include:
- Failure to employ enough staff
- Unsuitable floors or floor coverings
- Inadequate lighting
- Obstacles left in walkways
- Unsafe or broken furniture
- Poor maintenance and housekeeping
- Excessively loud music
If you believe your accident in a nightclub was due to negligence, you should call 0800 678 1410 or request a call back to receive a free consultation with a legal adviser. They will refer to the relevant legislation to determine a breach of duty and support your nightclub injury claim.
What are the most common nightclub accidents?
There are several different types of accidents which could arise in a nightclub and entitle you to make a compensation claim. The most common causes leading to a nightclub accident claim include:
Criminal injuries and assaults
While not technically an accident, you could still claim compensation if you were the victim of a criminal assault in a bar, pub or nightclub. In such cases, you could bring a claim against the property owner if they failed to take reasonable measures to protect your safety or through the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority (CICA).
The CICA is a government scheme that aims to compensate blameless victims of violent crimes such as attacks or assaults. To make a CICA claim, you will need to provide certain pieces of information, such as:
- The date and location of the incident
- The name of the police station where you reported the assault
- The crime reference number
- Information on unspent criminal convictions, if you have any
- Details on any previous CICA applications
- The name and address of your GP
There could be various instances of attacks and acts of violence, such as:
- Violence by a customer to other customers
- Assault of staff members by customers
- Bouncers assaulting customers with no cause
If you were the victim of a criminal assault without being at fault, you might be able to make a nightclub injury claim.
Slips, trips and falls
- Wet floors and drink spillages
- Poor lighting
- Cluttered stairways
- Defective or uneven floorings
- Unmarked changes in floor level
- Poor housekeeping
According to the Health and Safety Executive, nightclub owners and managers must take all reasonable measures to prevent accidents from happening, including:
- Carry out regular risk assessments to identify and eliminate or reduce hazards;
- Avoid contaminated floors by placing mattings at entrances, fixing leaks and minimising spillages;
- Signpost slip and trip hazards;
- Practice good housekeeping by implementing the correct cleaning methods to identify and clean spillages properly and effectively;
- Carry out routine maintenance;
- Provide adequate training to staff to avoid creating hazards;
- Provide effective footwear to employees as personal protective equipment (PPE).
A breach of the health and safety duties would make owners liable in a nightclub injury claim.
Accidents caused by broken or damaged facilities
Under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957, nightclub owners must ensure the well-being of customers on their premises. This implies maintaining a safe environment at all times, including on outside premises such as car parks and beer gardens.
Faulty or broken furniture may collapse suddenly and cause severe injuries such as cuts, lacerations, broken bones and traumatic brain injuries to customers. Nightclubs must also have fire alarms and automatic fire suppression systems properly installed and provide easy access to fire exits in an emergency.
Accidents at work
Nightclub accident claims are not limited to clients of the establishment. You could claim against your employer if you were injured while working in a pub, bar or nightclub due to their negligence.
Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSWR), your employer must consider all potential risks to your health and safety and minimise them when possible, including work-related violence. Where it is reasonably practicable to do so, employers should:
- Eliminate the risk completely by removing the hazard;
- When this is not possible, minimise risks by using improved equipment or technical solutions such as using CCTV or improved surveillance by staff;
- Redesign the layout of the workplace to give better lines of sight and better CCTV coverage;
- Put in place controls such as staff training, safe systems of work and personal protective measures.
This list is not exhaustive, and there are additional preventive measures employers should consider to prevent workplace injuries to staff. If you had an accident as an employee due to a breach of duty, you could claim nightclub injury compensation.
Regardless of your accident, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible if you suffered a physical or psychological injury. If you have a valid nightclub accident claim, they will offer you a no win no fee service, so you can pursue compensation without taking any financial risks.
Making a criminal injury claim for a nightclub assault
When you go to a pub or nightclub, you expect to have a good time with your friends and maybe meet new people. Nonetheless, clubs and bars can also be dangerous places, not only for clients and visitors but also waitresses, bartenders and other staff members.
The last thing you might expect while having fun is to be assaulted by another individual, but nightclub altercations are far from isolated events and could result in severe trauma. If your life was affected by a criminal assault, you might be able to make a nightclub injury claim.
An assault is defined as the act of inflicting physical harm upon a person or putting them in fear of an imminent bodily injury. If the attacker used a deadly weapon such as a knife that could cause severe physical injuries, it is considered aggravated assault.
Besides causing potentially severe physical injuries and pain, an assault can be a very traumatic experience leading to severe emotional and psychological trauma. It may lead to severe anxiety, fear, mental anguish, depression, insomnia and post-traumatic stress disorder.
If the assault could have been prevented, you might be able to make a nightclub injury claim against the business operator. For example, the attack may have been avoided if there were enough bouncers to prevent a drunken person from entering the nightclub.
If the assault was not due to negligence or breach of duty on the part of the nightclub, you could claim criminal injury compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). The CICA is an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice that awards damages to blameless victims of criminal assaults, even if the attacker is never identified.
Unlike other personal injury claims, you only have two years to make a CICA claim, and you must previously report the accident to the police, usually within 48 hours of the attack. You may not be eligible to claim nightclub injury compensation through the CICA if:
- You did not report the incident to the police or took too long to do so
- You have unspent criminal convictions
- The physical or psychological injuries you suffered were too minor or short-lived
- Your conduct played a contributing role in the assault
Can I claim compensation if I was assaulted by a bouncer?
Contrary to popular belief, bouncers are neither trained security guards nor law enforcement officers. They are held to the same legal standards as any other citizens and have no right to physically remove or detain someone, except when acting in self-defence or protecting the safety of others.
The rights of bouncers are limited to:
- Issue verbal warnings
- Ask clients to leave if they behave inappropriately
- Protect other clients and bystanders from violent behaviour
- Check IDs and refuse entry to underage or intoxicated individuals
- Employ a reasonable amount of force to contain individuals in the act of committing a crime
- Call the police to intervene in physical altercations
If a bouncer acted aggressively towards you, causing you any harm without cause, you might be able to claim bouncer assault compensation. You might have a criminal injury claim against the bouncer as well as a premises liability claim against the nightclub.
However, you will not be compensated twice for the same loss. If you recover compensation for a bouncer assault from the CICA and later receive compensation from the nightclub owner, you would have to repay the CICA the appropriate amount and vice versa.
- Claims against the bouncer
If a nightclub bouncer assaulted you, you might be able to make a personal injury claim against them. However, they may not be able to financially compensate you, so you would have to pursue compensation through the CICA.
To secure a successful claim, you will need to prove that you were not posing a threat to yourself or others and that the bouncer’s actions were unreasonable. Witness statements, CCTV footage or video footage taken by bystanders could serve as essential evidence in your claim.
- Premises liability claim for bouncer assault compensation
Your claim could be against the nightclub owner if they failed to take all reasonable measures to protect your health and safety on the premises. The business owner could be held liable if they failed to:
- Conduct a background check on the bouncer they hired
- Properly train their employees
- Supervise the bouncer’s actions and conduct
- Fire the bouncer after earlier episodes of poor behaviour
If a bouncer assaulted you through no fault of your own, you should report the incident to the police and their employer as soon as possible. This will ensure you have valid evidence to support your claim for injury compensation.
What should you do if you are injured in a nightclub accident?
If you suffered an injury in a nightclub accident, the prospect of making a nightclub injury claim might seem daunting. Nonetheless, there are a few simple steps you should take to help with your compensation claim further down the line. You should:
- Seek medical treatment as soon as possible, even if you suffered a minor injury. The medical notes and records of the treatments you received will be crucial in your nightclub accident claim.
- Take photographic evidence at the accident scene, showing the cause of your injuries – for example, the area where you slipped or damaged furniture.
- Take pictures of any visible injuries and damage to your items, and keep a photographic record of your recovery process.
- If anyone witnessed the accident, get their contact details so your solicitor can ask for their statement at a later date.
- If there was CCTV in the area where the accident or assault happened, try to secure a copy of the footage.
- Make sure your accident is reported to the owner or manager and recorded in the nightclub’s accident log book. This will serve as proof of the date, time and location of your accident.
- If you were the victim of a criminal assault, you should report it to the police, preferably within 48 hours. The police report and incident number will be essential for your nightclub injury claim.
- Keep a diary of how the accident occurred, the injuries you suffered and how these affected your day-to-day life and activities.
- Keep track of all the financial losses and expenses you incurred because of your injuries.
You should seek legal advice even if you have little evidence of how the accident happened. Your solicitor could help you gather enough proof to build a strong claim for bouncer assault compensation or any other accident that caused your injuries.
How much is a nightclub injury claim worth?
How much nightclub injury compensation you might receive if you make a successful claim depends on several factors, such as:
- The type and extent of the injuries you suffered
- How your daily life was affected by the accident
- The circumstances of your nightclub accident
- Whether you hold any part of the blame
- The financial losses and expenses related to your injury
Your solicitor will consider everything you have been through and your future needs to ensure you receive a fair settlement for your accident. In a nightclub injury claim, you can recover two types of damages:
General damages are awarded for the physical injury and how it affected your life, including:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional and psychological trauma
- Loss of consortium or companionship
- Physical or mental impairment
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Reduced quality of life
- Inability to pursue a hobby or social event
- Loss of prospects and enjoyment of life
Special damages are awarded for your past and future financial expenses, including:
- Past and future medical treatments and interventions
- Lost wages, including future losses if you cannot return to work
- Adaptations to your house or vehicle
- Medical equipment such as mobility aids
- Travel expenses and accommodation
- Cost of replacing any personal items damaged in the accident
- Cost of hiring someone to help with daily tasks during recovery
- Any other reasonable financial losses and expenses related to the accident or assault
To calculate your award for general damages, your solicitor will refer to the guidelines published by the Judicial College, according to which you could receive:
- £1,880 to £10,890 for a minor head injury with recovery within a few weeks
- £186,890 to £240,590 for a severe brain injury leading to reduced life expectancy, changes to personality or intellect and dependence on others
- £10,640 to £23,130 for nerve injuries caused by nasal fractures
- £2,200 to £3,950 for a relatively minor eye injury, with complete recovery within weeks
- £17,960 to £48,420 for severe facial scarring causing significant psychological damage
- Up to £4,050 for minor lacerations or soft tissue hand injuries
- £36,770 to £122,860 for severe arm injuries causing long-term disability and chronic pain
- Up to £3,950 for minor rib fractures with recovery within several weeks
- £5,150 to £6,960 for a simple jaw fracture that does not require surgery
- £22,130 to £30,910 for moderate back injuries that cause some degree of disability
- £43,710 to £67,410 for very severe leg injuries causing permanent mobility issues
Can I make a no win no fee nightclub accident claim?
If you want to make a nightclub injury claim, you should contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. They will ask you a few questions about how the events unfolded to determine whether you have valid grounds to take legal action.
If you are eligible to make a nightclub accident claim, your solicitor will offer you a no win no fee service. This means you can get expert advice and support throughout the claims process without losing a single penny if your claim fails.
As part of your no win no fee agreement, your solicitor will take out an After the Event (ATE) insurance policy at the beginning of your claim. The ATE insurance can be purchased at any time after an accident has taken place and provides coverage for all the legal expenses involved in litigation, such as:
- The defendant’s solicitor fees
- Medical and police reports
- Court fees
- Expert witness fees
- Travel expenses
- Barrister fees, if your injury claim goes to trial
No win no fee is the preferred way to fund a personal injury claim because if your case fails, you do not have to pay your solicitor’s fees or any legal costs. You only have to pay anything if you receive nightclub injury compensation, including:
- The cost of the ATE insurance premium, which you do not pay if you lose the claim;
- Some basic legal fees that cannot be recovered from the defendant;
- A success fee which cannot exceed 25% of your compensation award.