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Demanding Payment for Injuries Caused by Bouncers

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When a person becomes rowdy at a nightclub, it's not unusual for the owner or an employee to have the individual removed from the property by a bouncer. While the law lets bouncers use a reasonable amount of force to remove disruptive people, especially those who are being violent, sometimes they overdo it and cause serious injuries. Here's how to submit a demand letter for payment for injuries you sustain from a bouncer who hurts you while ejecting you from a club.

Start with an Overview

You should begin the letter by giving a brief overview of the incident. You don't need to go into a lot of detail. Just provide the most pertinent facts that support your claim that the bouncer caused your injuries and why the person or facility the bouncer works for is liable for paying your damages and losses. You don't want to say too much for two reasons.

First, if you've already spoken to someone about the incident, then describing everything that happened would be overkill. Second, the more you write, the bigger the risk you'll say something that could be used against you. Therefore, you also want to watch your language when talking about the incident. For instance, avoid calling the incident an accident. The other party may try to use this wording to escape liability.

Mention the specific tort law you're relying on to make your case. If you feel the bouncer's actions amounted to assault, for example, then conclude the overview by stating the person is liable for your injuries under that tort. Additionally, if you're going after the facility where the bouncer works, include mention of the vicarious liability law that holds employers liable for the actions of their employees.

Including the relevant torts will give the other party a better idea why he or she is at fault and shows you are somewhat knowledgeable about your rights. Many times people will try to use complainants' ignorance of the law to get out of paying for damages, and showing that you have some familiarity with the law may help prevent the other party from trying to take advantage of you.

Describe Your Injuries and Damages

The next section of the demand letter should list the damages and losses you sustained as a result of the incident. List any direct injuries you suffered at the hands of the bouncer (e.g., sprained wrist), and then follow up with the treatments you underwent to deal with the injuries.

Again, only give relevant details. However, be sure to point out how the injury affected your life. For instance, if the bouncer broke your leg and you couldn't enter the 5K race you signed up for as a result, be sure to mention that, especially if you're asking the facility to reimburse you for the entry fee. At the same time, though, don't exaggerate. Doing so will reduce your credibility and make it harder for the other party to take your claims seriously. You may end up getting a counteroffer that's significantly less than what you're asking for as a result.

Add an Itemized List of Costs and Losses

The last part of the demand letter should include an itemized list of the costs and losses you sustained as a result of the incident. List out your medical expenses (e.g., doctor's bills, prescriptions), lost wages, damage to clothing, and other monetary consequences you suffered following the incident.

One thing you definitely need to include is compensation your insurance company requires you pay under any subrogation clauses in your policy. Subrogation lets an insurance company obtain reimbursement for costs it paid on your behalf out of any settlement you obtain from the responsible party. If your policy has this clause, find out the amount that must be repaid to the insurance company and include this cost with your calculation.

You are also generally entitled to compensation for pain and suffering. However, calculating this can be challenging. The easiest way is to take your tangible damages and multiply it by a number between 1.5 and 5 (with 1.5 being the lowest and 5 the highest) that corresponds to the seriousness of your injury, the amount of pain you were in, and the severity of the impact the injury had on your quality of life. Again, avoid exaggerating; otherwise, you may alienate the other party at a time when you need them to agree to the settlement amount.

Be certain to include copies of evidence supporting your claim (e.g., medical bills) and conclude the letter by providing a date the other party needs to respond by. Let the person know that if you don't hear back, you may take your claim to court. Most people want to avoid being sued and will usually try to work with you to settle the issue.

For more information on writing a demand letter for compensation to a bouncer who caused you injury or help litigating a personal-injury case, contact an attorney, such as one from Speers Reuland & Cibulskis, P.C.