Arizona Injury Law: Bouncers and Employees

“Never was anything great achieved without danger.” – Niccolo Machiavelli

Arizona police officers, bouncers, and security guards do not have the right to injure you, except under very specific circumstances. In this article, we share some insight into what happens when a person is injured by an employee of a business.

One of the most common “intentional tort” scenarios is when a security guard or a bouncer injures a customer or patron, or a police officer employed by a law enforcement department. A bouncer at a nightclub or bar does not have the right to injure people. Security guards do not have the authority to physically harm you. Bouncers and security guards may get a power trip as they attempt to control difficult situations. However, power trip or not, bouncers and security guards are not legally entitled to hurt you just because you are a patron of their business, even if you are causing some trouble. In rare circumstances, bouncers and security guards can use physical force upon you if it falls under a “justification” legally permitted in Arizona.

We can review your case to determine if the use of physical force against you was justified. In some cases, bouncers cause serious injury to customers and patrons. In those situations, you may be entitled to obtain money damages from the business for their employee’s (i.e., the bouncer’s) actions. In Arizona, if you are injured by an employee of a business (e.g., a restaurant, grocery store, Wal-Mart, bar, or nightclub), you may be able to recover damages from the business instead of the actual individual that harmed you.

This theory of liability is called respondeat superior liability.

Practical tip from Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC: If you are injured by an employee of a business, it is very important to make a good report of what happened. If the police or an ambulance are needed, utilize these services. Get all of the medical help you need. Find out who the witnesses are and make sure photographs are taken. Do not consent to an interview with the business owner or any representative of the business until you have a lawyer. Make an independent report with law enforcement (if appropriate), and contact us immediately so that we can get our investigators to work on your behalf.

Here is what respondeat superior liability means. An employer is responsible for the actions of its employee if the employee was acting within the scope of his or her employment. To win a personal injury case based on the theory of respondeat superior liability, under Arizona law, you must prove that:

  1. The act was the kind that the employee was employed to perform;
  2. The act occurred within the time and space of the employment; and
  3. The act was motivated at least in part by a purpose to serve the employer.

There are two ways an employee and/or business can be responsible for harming a customer: intentional acts and negligence. Here we will discuss intentional acts that cause harm to another person. These are called intentional torts. The most common examples in our scenario of a bouncer attacking a patron at a bar or nightclub are the Arizona civil torts of “assault” and “battery.” To win a personal injury case involving assault or battery, under Arizona law, you must prove:

  1. The person intended to cause harm or offensive contact with you or to cause you to suffer apprehension of an immediate harmful or offensive contact;
  2. The person caused you apprehension of an immediate harmful or offensive contact or actually caused harmful or offensive contact; and
  3. You suffered damages as a result.

Practical tip from Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC: If you are injured by an employee of a business, such as a bouncer at a nightclub, contact us right away. We aggressively represent injured people and fight for justice. You shouldn’t have to pay your own medical bills when someone intentionally hurts you without justification. You are also entitled to compensation for pain and suffering.

We aggressively pursue personal injury cases in Flagstaff, Sedona, Prescott, Williams, Winslow, Holbrook, Kingman, and all across Northern Arizona.