Evaluating Your Options

Evaluating Your Options

Is A Business Liable When A Convenience Store Brawl Breaks Out?

Dale Watkins

People suffer injury from slip and fall accidents inside convenience stores quite often. Questions of negligence arise regarding the store employees' contributions to any harm. If employees don't mop up spilled coffee after learning about the mess, the store might be held liable for any resulting injuries. What if a less common incident, such as a fight breaking out, occurs inside the store? Employees aren't security guards, so they can't be expected to break up a fight. Still, there may be instances where the store proves negligent when a brawl occurs on the premises.

Understanding Fights, Negligence, and Responsibilities

If two belligerent customers get into a fight and someone inside the store is accidentally hurt, a large volume of the blame will probably fall on one or both of the people fighting. A complete look at the specifics regarding the incident would likely factor into any determinations of negligence. Examining the "specifics" could include looking at what store employees did or didn't do.

Considering the Impaired and Troubled Customer

Consider the store's prior relationships with one of the people involved in the fight. Did the person display belligerent behavior in the past? Did the person walk into the store drunk, and the store continued to sell him alcohol? If so, did the person engage in problematic behavior such as consuming alcohol on the premises and harassing people? This hypothetical situation raises questions about the store's liability. Serving alcohol to the customer may show negligence. A failure to call the police when belligerent behavior occurred could also show some level of liability.

Aggravating the Situation

Store employees may become upset with an out-of-control customer wandering into the store. Regardless, anger does not provide someone with immunity to act in any way they wish. If the convenience store employee insults, belittles, or threatens an intoxicated patron and the situation gets out of hand, it could be reasonable to ask if the store employee contributed to any violent outbreak. If the employee physically assaults the patron, setting a chaotic situation in motion, then it may appear the employee played a significant role in the incident. 

Raising the Legal Questions

No one can predict how a judge or jury will rule in the aftermath of an injury-inducing fight at a convenience store. However, an experienced personal injury lawyer would surely examine all available evidence to assess negligence and if a case has merit. Speaking with an attorney to discuss a civil remedy might be wise.

For more information, contact local professionals or visit sites like http://www.gdamianilaw.com.


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