Can I make a public liability claim against a security guard in QLD?

Published 10 Jul 2018

Practice Area: Slip & Fall Public Liability Claims

In Queensland, bouncers and security guards have less power than many think. While they're in place to protect the 'house' rules of a venue, such as a pub or a shopping centre, they are restricted in the methods they can use to enforce these rules. This includes not being allowed to use 'excessive force' or to hold you against your will.

If you have an altercation with a bouncer or security guard and you're injured from the exchange, there's a chance you can claim compensation to cover medical costs or lost income.

What powers do bouncers have in fulfilling their duties?
A bouncer or security guard can use physical force in upholding the venue's rules or forcing you to leave the premises. However, this force has to be within reason (not 'excessive) and cannot leave you with a lasting medical injury. Additionally, security personnel cannot strike you unless they can prove they're under immediate physical threat. If they do hit you, no matter the other circumstances, you have grounds for a compensation claim.

Further, bouncers don't have the power to arrest or detain you, meaning if they hold you against your will you can claim for compensation for medical or psychological injuries sustained. They also cannot search you without permission or confiscate your belongings.

Case: Carlyon vs Town & Country Pubs Pty LTD 2015
Carlyon (the plaintiff) leveled a public liability claim against the Gladstone Hotel (part of Town & Country Pubs LTD) in 2009 for what they felt was a use of unnecessary force in removing him from the pub, which led to severe injuries including a broken leg. He also claimed these injuries were due to the negligence of the individual bouncers who forced his removal and a failure at management level to provide adequate security services and a safe means of controlling the pub attendees.

The claims in this case were three-fold:

  • The plaintiff had to prove the force used to remove them was excessive.
  • They also had to provide evidence that their injuries were due to the negligent actions of security staff.
  • Lastly, they had to demonstrate that the Gladstone Hotel had failed to provide an adequate safe environment for its patrons.
     

This is a complex range of factors to gather evidence for in order to press you claim for compensation successfully. You're better off seeking the services of a lawyer expert in public liability law who can help you secure the desired outcome. For more information, get in touch with Gerard Malouf & Partners today.