How to determine liability for injuries regarding a bar fight?

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How to determine liability for injuries regarding a bar fight?

My son was punched in a bar. To defend himself, he wrestled his attacker to the ground. During all this an nearby bystander was somehow pushed or fell and sustained severe injuries. Now the bystander’s father wants to hold my son responsible. My son and the bystander are friends, and they are both over 21. The police were not called and the attacker has not been identified. Does my son have any responsibility for his friend’s injuries?

Asked on April 16, 2013 under Personal Injury, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Yes, your son may be liable:

1) "Self-defense" applies against the attacker in a fight--not against third parties who just happen to be in the area, so this would not present a defense.

2) If a reasonable person would conclude that it was negligent, or careless, to start wrestling in a crowded bar, then you son would be liable for the bystander's injuries.


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