Nightclubs are places to go to have a good time, but they can also be very dangerous. The combination of youth, alcohol and lack of restraint can lead to fights. But it’s not just the patrons that are a potential problem. The people running the nightclub also contribute to the safety or danger of a venue.
There are a number of premises liability claims that can be brought against nightclubs. For instance, failure to maintain the structure of a building can lead to a collapse. That’s what happened in 2000 with the Philadelphia Pier 34 collapse that killed three women and injured dozens of others who were just trying to have a good time. That led to criminal charges and multi-million dollar settlements for the owners.
Problems with insufficient security and patrons are more common. We have a recent story from Ohio that shows what can happen when security is lax. On March 26 this year, partiers went to the Cameo Nightclub and ended up in a gunfight. At least three weapons made it inside. One shooter escaped, one was killed in the incident and the third was arrested by police at the scene. In total, two died and 17 others were injured.
How did the weapons get into the nightclub in the first place? According to eight people who came to us for representation, there were two lines that night. There was a main line and a smaller, secondary line for VIP guests. The VIP guests paid extra for a shorter line and a “no pat down” entrance. This means they weren’t searched for weapons prior to entry.
Several victims were shot in the legs, requiring medical care and physical therapy to recover use of their limbs. Initial figures for their bills are estimated at $25,000 per individual.
Additionally, there may not have been enough exits in the venue to evacuate the area. Statements from victims state there were too many people blocking the exits because they were trying to figure out what was going on when the shots were fired. A lack of exits is another cause of deaths in nightclubs, usually from fires or trampling as in the case of the 2003 Station Nightclub fire, which was caused by the band using pyrotechnics in an unsafe manner.
Nightclub owners have to keep their patrons safe from fire, weapons, or even a fistfight. Any injuries incurred by patrons deserve compensation if the nightclub’s negligence can be demonstrated. A personal injury attorney with experience in premises injury can help.
The Cochran Firm is representing several of the injured people from the Cameo Nightclub shooting. If you’ve been injured in a nightclub, our lawyers are ready to hear your story. Once your injuries have been treated, contact us for a free consultation.