Barroom Brawl Leads to 400k Jury Verdict in Plaintiff’s Favor

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court of Rhode Island upheld a jury’s verdict in a premises liability case that stemmed from a bar fight that left one man seriously injured. According to court documents, the fight occurred back in February 2009.

Evidently, the plaintiff and another man were involved in two altercations on the same evening, the second of which rendered the plaintiff unconscious. He was admitted to the hospital with serious injuries and was kept there for two weeks. After he was released, he required another two-week stay at home before he was ready to return to work.

In 2010, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the bar owner, claiming that its negligence in responding to the first altercation resulted in the more serious second encounter that caused the plaintiff’s injuries. The plaintiff presented one eyewitness, a bartender, who testified that the other man was “known to have a black belt in karate and he’s known to get violent.” She also told the court that he was “belligerent, obnoxious, vulgar, antagonizing other patrons, and looking for a fight” on the night in question. Despite this, no one at the bar called police until after the second altercation.

The jury returned a verdict that found both parties (the plaintiff and the bar owner) partially liable for the plaintiff’s injuries. It found that the plaintiff was 20% at fault, and the bar owner was 80% at fault. It rendered a verdict in the plaintiff’s favor for $543,443. After reducing the plaintiff’s award by his own percent-at-fault of 20%, he was left with a total amount of $448,130.

The Defendant Appeals

On appeal, the defendant bar owner asked the court to reverse the lower court’s decision upholding the jury’s verdict. The defendant claimed that the court mis-weighed the presented evidence in favor of the plaintiff, and it should reconsider. However, the appellate court did not agree, and it found that the jury’s verdict was a fair one given all the facts.

Similar Cases in Maryland

This kind of case would pose a problem for a Maryland plaintiff, since Maryland does not subscribe to the same laws when it comes to determining fault and who may recover in a personal injury accident. In Maryland, a plaintiff who is found to be at all at fault is prevented from recovering for any of their injuries. This means that, if the jury determines that a plaintiff was partially negligent for his or her own injuries—even if that figure is only 1%—the plaintiff is out of luck and cannot recover. This makes the involvement of a dedicated Maryland personal injury attorney all the more crucial.

Have You Been Involved in a Serious Maryland Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been involved in any kind of serious Maryland accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for the injuries you sustained. However, keep in mind that a defendant will surely attempt to shift some of the blame onto you in order to eliminate your chances of success. Make sure you do everything you can to ensure you have the best chance at getting what you deserve by calling one of the dedicated attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers at 410-654-3600. Call today to set up a free initial consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Maryland Appellate Court Considers the Cap on Judgments Against Municipalities, Maryland Accident Law Blog, January 16, 2014.

Change of Venue Ordered in Medical Malpractice Case; Impartial Jury Concerns Cited, Maryland Accident Law Blog, December 1, 2014.

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