Security guard looking over a South Carolina night club

Security guards and bouncers at nightclubs, bars, concerts, or other events in South Carolina are allowed to take reasonable action to protect patrons, staff, and the premises.  However, they cannot legally use excessive force against individuals.

If a security guard or bouncer has overstepped their authority and physically injured a guest, the injured individual may have a right to compensation for injuries suffered in the assault. The individual or organization that employed a security guard or bouncer, who crossed the line, may also be held liable.

A personal injury lawyer at Joye Law Firm can help you seek just compensation if you have been harmed by a bouncer or security guard who used excessive force against you while working in their official employment capacity providing security. A South Carolina civil court may order the employer of the individual who assaulted you to compensate you for injuries you have suffered in addition to your related losses.

Contact us today for a free legal consultation about an excessive force assault case if you have been beaten or harmed by a security guard, bouncer, or another employee at an entertainment venue in South Carolina. Joye Law Firm has offices in Myrtle Beach, Charleston, Columbia, Clinton, and Summerville and handles cases across South Carolina.

Common Injuries Caused by a Bouncer or Security Guard Using Excessive Force

Bouncers or security guards at clubs, bars, and concerts have the right to physically subdue individuals who are violating the rules of the establishment. South Carolina law gives a properly registered or licensed security guard the same authority and arrest power as a sheriff’s deputy. A security guard may arrest a person committing a crime and take them into custody, but only on the property on which the guard is employed.

As security guards seek to maintain a safe environment, they have a duty to act reasonably when dealing with the public. A security guard or bouncer may use a restraining hold on a person to break up a fight or forcibly remove them from the premises. If an individual has broken the law, the bouncer or security guard may detain them for police. But regardless of the circumstances, the amount of force used must be reasonable.

It would be considered excessive force to:

  • Subdue a patron by repeatedly hitting them with fists, kicking, choking, or bludgeoning them.
  • Body slam an individual or drag a patron on the ground.
  • Use a weapon such as a baton or Taser.
  • Purposely injure a patron, such as by smashing their head against a wall or the ground, kneeling on their neck, or employing punishing holds, like twisting an arm to the point of dislocating a shoulder or breaking a bone.
  • Verbally abuse a patron with racial or ethnic slurs or epithets.
  • Unlawfully detain a patron trying to leave the premises.

Injuries commonly seen when security guards use excessive force include:

  • Head injuries leading to concussion or more severe traumatic brain injury
  • Facial lacerations and contusions
  • Fractured facial bones
  • Broken arms and dislocated shoulders
  • Back or neck injuries, including spinal cord injuries
  • Internal organ injuries, such as to the spleen, liver, lung, or bowels.
  • Fractured pelvis
  • Chronic ringing in the ear caused by damage to the inner ear
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) caused by experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event or injury.

Bouncer and Security Guard Liability for Assault

If you were injured in a confrontation with a bouncer or security guard who used excessive force, you may be able to demand compensation for your medical bills, time out of work, pain and suffering, and more.

In South Carolina, a civil claim for assault asserts that the conduct of the defendant placed the individual in fear of bodily harm. A separate claim for battery would be appropriate if the individual unlawfully struck you.

In a personal injury claim based on excessive force by a security guard or bouncer, the injured person must prove that the defendant acted negligently. If the bouncer or security guard’s negligence caused the person’s injuries, then the guard or the guard’s employer may be financially liable for the harm the injured person suffered.

A business may have responsibility for its employee’s negligent conduct and may be found negligent in the hiring, training, or supervision of its employees. For example, the evidence may show the bouncer was hired despite a record of criminal assault or that managers at the establishment knew that the security team treated unruly patrons too roughly.

How To Prove an Aggravated Assault Claim Against a Security Guard

In a lawsuit claiming you were assaulted by a security guard or bouncer, it is necessary   to establish that the preponderance of the evidence demonstrates the security guard or bouncer’s liability. That means that a civil jury must decide that it is more likely than not that the defendant is responsible for the alleged conduct.

The primary points you would need to show in a claim of excessive force against a bouncer would be:

  • You were at the establishment legally. If you had already been asked to leave but did not, this could damage your case if it went to a jury. However, this would not automatically excuse a violent assault.
  • The defendant assaulted you. Witness testimony would support your claim that you were assaulted. Our attorneys would try to locate any security camera video showing the assault. A timely request to the court might ensure that it is preserved.
  • The defendant used excessive force. Medical records and doctors’ statements would document the extent of your injuries. You could provide a statement about how your injuries in the attack have affected your life.
  • The establishment was negligent in hiring or supervising the employee. If the defendant had a criminal record of violence, the employer knew or should have known about it when they hired him. Records about previous incidents with customers would demonstrate that the business negligently kept a problem employee on staff.

Compensation Available for Victims of Assault by a Bouncer

An employee of a Myrtle Beach nightclub or a Columbia bar that caters to college students may not have the resources to pay for your medical bills and other losses if you were to sue them for assault. A business is responsible for its staff members’ actions. Businesses maintain commercial liability insurance to have coverage in situations like this.

After gathering evidence to support your claim of assault due to unreasonable force, we would calculate your costs and losses, such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish and emotional distress
  • Loss of future earning capacity
  • Disfigurement

Most cases of an employee assaulting a customer can be settled without a trial. No business wants to endure the negative publicity of a trial about a violent employee assaulting a patron.

As your attorneys, Joye Law Firm would present the business owner and their insurance company with a demand letter outlining the evidence of the violence inflicted upon you, your injuries, and the compensation you need to be made whole.

If the insurance company refused to offer a settlement acceptable to you, we would be prepared to file a lawsuit in your name and present a persuasive case in court.

What To Do if You Have Been Injured by a Security Guard or Bouncer

If you have been excessively roughed up by a bouncer, security guard, or another employee of a South Carolina entertainment establishment, we would urge you to:

  • See a doctor to ensure your injuries are properly treated and documented.
  • Take photos of your injuries and of any clothing or accessories torn in the attack.
  • Contact the police and, if still at the scene, summon them for help. If no longer at the establishment, file an assault complaint with the police.
  • Write down names and contact information for witnesses to the attack.
  • Write or otherwise record what happened to you in your own words as soon as possible.
  • Contact the establishment and ask how to file an incident report, then do so as instructed. Save a copy.
  • Contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The sooner an attorney starts to investigate your case, the sooner we can ask the establishment to preserve any security camera footage and other potential evidence.
  • Do not discuss the event or any connection to the establishment on social media.

Contact Our Skilled South Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers

Our South Carolina personal injury attorneys at Joye Law Firm can help you seek compensation if you have been assaulted by an employee of a nightclub, bar, or similar establishment. Contact our office in Myrtle BeachCharlestonColumbiaClinton, or Summerville so we may act on your behalf before the evidence disappears.

We have been helping injury victims in South Carolina demand justice and just compensation since 1968. We can help you. Call Joye Law Firm at 888-324-3100 or fill out our online form for a free consultation.