Security personnel at bars, restaurants and retail stores may not be as well-trained as they should be to handle situations involving the use of force. The law allows these security guards and loss prevention personnel to use a certain amount of force, but there are significant limitations. If you have been injured by what you believe to have been misconduct, you should know your rights and what it takes to prove your case in court.
Security Misconduct Often Involves Claims of Assault and Battery
Under California law, security officers, bouncers and loss prevention agents are entitled to use a reasonable amount of nondeadly force to protect property, third parties and to effect an arrest when a crime has been committed in their presence. When the force exceeds the amount that is reasonable under the circumstances present at the time, the security personnel may be guilty of an assault, battery or both. In general, when someone puts you in fear of being physically harmed (without just cause) that person may be guilty of both a criminal and civil assault. Damages for pain, suffering and emotional upset can be awarded to the victim.
When a loss prevention agent or security guard actually uses more force than is reasonably necessary under the circumstances, they may have committed both a criminal and civil battery. That harmful or offensive touching has consequences, and damages may be awarded to the victim for the pain and suffering caused.
By way of example, in a recent case accepted by this office a bouncer at a bar/restaurant was in the process of removing an “unruly” patron from the property when a family member stepped in and asked for an explanation. Without warning or need, the bouncer suddenly threw the family member to the ground breaking her wrist. The amount of force was clearly excessive, and likely constituted both an assault and battery.
Security Misconduct Can Also be Shown by Evidence of Negligence
When the actions of a security guard or loss prevention agent are careless (negligent) and an injury results, the employer of the guard/agent may be held accountable for the injuries and damages that result under a negligence theory. In general, everyone has a duty to act reasonably at all times so as to avoid causing a negligent injury to someone else. When that neglect is committed by a security officer, bouncer or loss prevention agent, it amounts to misconduct for which compensation may be awarded to the victim.
Under California law, negligence may be proven when there is a duty to act carefully, a breach of that duty, and resulting damages. In the example above, the bouncer who threw the client to the ground was at least careless about the amount of force he used on a much smaller person. The force was so excessive that it caused the victim to fall to the ground and break her wrist. Even if some force was justified, the use of so much force beyond that necessary amounts to negligence and misconduct.
Contact a Security Misconduct Attorney for Help
If you have been the victim of security misconduct by a security officer, bouncer or loss prevention agent, obtaining the assistance of an experienced injury attorney can be the most important step you take toward obtaining compensation. Mr. Ralph has more than 30 years of experience handling personal injury cases, including those involving security misconduct. He is available for a free consultation regarding your case and can be contacted via an e-mail or by calling the phone number above. Don’t let anyone get away with victimizing you.