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Jenny Jones

Panel Senior Litigator

A guide to making a No Win No Fee nightclub accident claim

Low light levels, slippery dance floors, broken glass and excessive alcohol consumption, all present significant risk to nightclub patrons. However, club owners and occupiers owe a duty of care to patrons to ensure that the nightclub is safe and fit for purpose.

If a person is injured because a nightclub's health and safety measures were inadequate, they could be entitled to make an occupiers liability claim for injury compensation.

From slips, trips and falls leading to bruising, sprains and broken bones, to lacerations from shards of glass or other sharp hazards, compensation can be claimed for many of the injuries sustained in nightclubs, pubs and bars, even in cases where the injured person was intoxicated.

What are the responsibilities of a nightclub owner?

Under the Occupier's Liability Act 1957, nightclub owners have a legal duty to ensure that visitors to their premises are kept reasonably safe from harm. This means making sure that club patrons are not exposed to unnecessary or foreseeable risks.

As part of this, owners need to carry out an initial risk assessment, identifying any potential hazards, and then implement sufficient health and safety procedures. This includes having a system in places to ensure that regular checks are carried out and that they are quick to remove hazards.

This regular checking is essential in nightclubs as new hazards can occur on a regular basis. For example, drinks are often spilt or glasses dropped and broken. This can occur anywhere from the dance floor, to the bar, to the public toilets.

Safety breaches that lead to a nightclub injury claim

If an accident occurs in a nightclub because of an avoidable risk, such as insufficient lighting, slippery stair coverings or broken glass on the floor, a person can claim for personal injury compensation as the nightclub owner failed to meet their duty of care'.

Not every risk or hazard must be removed immediately once identified. However a suitable warning must be in place, such as a wet floor or danger sign.

Common examples of safety failures which lead to nightclub injury claims include:

  • Owner/manager did not employ enough staff to adequately clean up drink spills and broken glass
  • Floor coverings were unsuitable (not non-slip), poor quality or slippery due to the use of incorrect cleaning products
  • Lighting was inadequate on the stairs or around other hazards
  • Obstacles, such as tailing cables, were not removed or suitably covered
  • Chairs, tables and other nightclub furniture was unsafe due to poor quality or poor maintenance
  • Excessively loud music

Other causes of injuries in nightclubs include an assault by a bouncer or member of the public. However these would be classed as a criminal injury. This would entail a claim for criminal injury compensation through the CICA (Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority), rather than a personal injury claim.

What steps should be taken when an accident occurs?

When an accident happens in a nightclub the first priority is seeking medical attention and notifying staff. Not only should staff administer first aid or call an ambulance for more serious injuries, but they should also log the incident in the premises' accident book.

Other steps to take which will help build a case for a compensation claim include:

  • Photographing the scene of the accident
  • Photographing the injuries
  • Seeking witnesses and requesting contact details
  • Asking for security camera footage that may have captured the incident

If negligence can be proven, the nightclub owner should have insurance in place to cover any claims made against them. How much compensation is received will depend on the extent of the injuries, the prognosis and other demonstrated losses.

To make a claim, speak to a member of our solicitor panel on 0800 612 7456 or request a callback for a more convenient time.