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Liability After Fisticuffs


It happened in Aruba:  what started out as a Christmas Eve party devolved into a pushing, shoving, sucker punching melee among party guests.  Unfortunately, it happens far more frequently than we’d like to believe throughout the year, and even during the holidays.  High emotions combine with liquor to bring out the very worst in people.  So if you get caught up in someone else’s worst moment and find yourself in need of an emergency room, who gets stuck with the bills?

Liability Considerations 

If someone else harms you, that person should be held liable for the damages associated with the incident.  Hopefully there is video coverage and lots of eyewitness testimony to support your version of events.  In addition to the individual who actually delivered the blows, there’s a possibility that premises liability may factor in, as well.

According to Florida law, a plaintiff must demonstrate that there was a breach of care that led to the situation that allowed an injury to occur. Did negligence on the part of the business lead to a problem that exacerbated the possibility of a fracas?  Some issues that might have contributed to the attack include:

  • Inadequate regulation and monitoring of alcohol consumption;
  • Insufficient number of security personnel on the premises;
  • A history of this sort of incident in the past;
  • A history of police visits to the location due to fighting;
  • Inadequate lighting in parking lots or surrounding areas.

These issues are critical, because business establishments are required to promote a safe environment for patrons.  Just like the necessity for hand railings on stairways to prevent falls, they must institute basic precautions to keep revelers safe during events.  It is important to note that liability for issues related to alcohol are spelled out in Florida’s dram shop laws.  An establishment may be held liable for damages only if alcohol was served to a known addict or a minor.  Party hosts in a private home are not held to even that standard. So, unless other factors contributed to the incident, it will be difficult to establish liability for the establishment where an incident took place.


In the event liability is determined, the guilty party may be asked to pay for any costs associated with the incident, including medical bills, lost wages, and the replacement of damaged property.  Pain and suffering may also be compensated.

Talk to an Attorney Today 

If you’ve been injured after someone lost their temper and their sense of propriety, it is important to seek out legal help quickly in order to avoid any problems with the statute of limitations.  Additionally, it is more likely to find evidence and get accurate witness testimony closer to the time of the incident. At Salazar & Kelly Law Group, P.A., our Kissimmee personal injury attorneys are determined to achieve the best possible outcomes for you.  Schedule a free, confidential consultation in our office today.



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