Security guards at bars, nightclubs, and concert venues are there to deter violence and other issues. Sometimes, people need to be physically restrained or escorted from the premises, but the primary function of security guards should be to observe and report. If a security guard gets too aggressive while doing their job, patrons may suffer serious injuries.
If you or a loved one was injured by a security guard, consider taking your case to an attorney. The personal injury attorneys at The Reiff Law Firm handle lawsuits for injuries caused by security guards in Philadelphia. Call our law offices today for a free consultation on your case and to understand how you may be entitled to file a lawsuit against a security guard and their employer for injuries you sustained at a bar, club, or concert venue. For your free consultation, call (215) 246-9000 today.
Injuries from Security Guards
Security guards at some establishments often need to use physical force to protect others or themselves. This may include performing a citizen’s arrest or acting in self-defense if a guest or customer becomes too rowdy. However, some security guards abuse their size or strength, causing serious injuries to guests.
Security guards are often private citizens and do not have the legal authority to use force in Pennsylvania. Many police officers may work second jobs as security guards in their off time, but off-duty police do not have the same authority to use force or weapons that police do. Instead, security guards must follow the same rules as private citizens. Active-duty police officers working security at large events, however, are allowed to use reasonable force when necessary. Since they are not active-duty police, security guards are not usually authorized to carry a gun without special permission, and they would not be allowed to use deadly force in most scenarios.
This means that a security officer or a bouncer is not allowed to use force, except in self-defense or during a citizen’s arrest. Security guards may resort to violence or physical force if they are attacked, or if someone else is being attacked or assaulted. This self-defense or defense of another must always be proportional, meaning that the bouncer or security guard cannot use more force than the assailant uses. Thus, they cannot escalate to use of weapons like Tasers or guns without being confronted with similar weapons.
Security guards can also perform citizen’s arrests. They are not police, and they cannot arrest people upon suspicion that they committed a crime. Instead, if they actually see a crime like theft or assault being committed, they can use force to hold the assailant until police arrive.
Some examples of unlawful uses of force for security guards may include:
- Physically throwing someone out;
- Restraining someone;
- Placing someone in a headlock, armbar, or any other hold;
- Responding to non-threatening words with physical violence;
- Arresting someone based on reports of a crime;
- And other extreme uses of force or violence.
Suing for Injuries Caused by Security Guards
Security guards are hired by various establishments to perform security duties. This often includes pat-downs, bag searches, and calling the police in case of serious security issues. If a security guard overreaches and resorts to physical force or violence, you could be injured. Whether you were the direct victim of force or you were injured as collateral damage, you may be able to sue the security guard, their employer, and the establishment for the injuries you sustained.
Many security guards are hired through private security companies, but some are hired directly by the venue. In many cases, you can sue an employer in Pennsylvania for an employee’s negligence under a doctrine called “respondeat superior.” As long as the employee was acting within the scope of their duties when they mistakenly used force and injured you, you may be able to sue the employer. This could give you the ability to sue whether the employer is an agency or the establishment itself. If the establishment where you were injured was using a security guard from an agency or service, you may be able to sue the establishment under the “borrowed servant” doctrine. This might treat the bar or club as the security guard’s employer, even if they technically work for someone else.
Property owners and their agents cannot intentionally injure guests or customers, and it is illegal to assault someone by using physical violence without just cause. These kinds of incidents can entitle the victim to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and possibly even punitive damages to punish their unlawful action.
Philadelphia Attorney for Injuries Caused by Security Guards
If you or a loved one was injured by a security guard or bouncer at a bar, concert, nightclub, or another establishment, talk to an attorney today. Security guards are not police, and they should not use physical force to throw people out or fight them. If you were injured because of a security guard’s unlawful or negligent acts, talk to our Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm. To schedule a free consultation, contact our law offices today at (215) 246-9000.