Businesses in Florida owe a duty to patrons to make sure their premises are reasonably safe from danger. This includes keeping customers safe from the business’ own, potentially dangerous employees. These include bouncers, who from time-time-time can be overzealous.
For a long time, Florida bars and restaurants have been held by courts to be legally responsible when their bouncers and other security personnel rough up or otherwise assault or batter patrons. However, in recent years collecting money damages for the victims of these beatings has become much more difficult.
This is why I read with interest a story on the www.insurancejournal.com website pertaining to a $5 million settlement provided to a 22-year-old man who was beaten by a bouncer outside of a Miami nightclub. The most interesting thing to me about the story, as an Orlando premises liability and negligent security lawyer, is the fact that the $5 million came from the bar’s insurance company.
Over the last several years, most of the insurance companies that provide liability insurance to bars and restaurants have begun including provisions in their policies that exclude coverage for any losses arising out of assaults and batteries. Florida’s courts have interpreted these policy exclusions very broadly. They are very difficult to attack in order to establish coverage — but not impossible.
Nevertheless, these exclusions make it very difficult for injury victims to receive just compensation for their injuries. At the same time, the exclusions also leave bar and nightclub owners potentially facing financial ruin if their security workers or bouncers cause someone serious injury — as clearly happened in the Miami case referenced above.
Responsible bar, restaurant, and nightclub owners should insist that their commercial general liability policies include coverage for assaults and batteries – or they should find different insurance companies to do business with.
Here, the existence of insurance is likely going to help save the young man in the Miami case, who was knocked into a lengthy coma, and who will never be able to care for himself again.
If you have any questions regarding an attack, assault, or beating in a bar, restaurant, or nightclub, call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at 407– 254–4901, for a FREE consultation.