If there was a hang nail on the booth that I was sitting in at a sports bar and it ripped my $200 jeans, is the owner responsible?

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If there was a hang nail on the booth that I was sitting in at a sports bar and it ripped my $200 jeans, is the owner responsible?

Asked on September 20, 2011 under Business Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The bar and the owner is probably not responsible. A business owner is not the insurer of his patrons or customers; he is only responsible if he was at fault. To be at fault, he must have either acted intentionally wrongfully (which would not be the case here) or have been negligent. Negligence is unreasonable carelessness--being more careless than the average reasonable person. You'd have to show that the average reasonable person would not have  had a nail like this. Furthermore, even if the owner was at fault and therefore financially responsible, the most you could collect would be the cost of the jeans (so up to $200); even if you brought the suit representing yourself in small claims court, it would cost you a few tens of dollars and time, so it's not clear that it's worth taking action.


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