You're out on the town with your friends, and there's a conflict between your group and another. A bouncer comes over and tells you that you have to leave. The bouncer is a large, physically intimidating individual, but you start wondering how much of that is just for show. Could the bouncer, an employee of the bar, actually hit you?

Specific Situations

Technically speaking, the bouncer can hit you. However, that doesn't mean he can just walk up, punch you and throw you out. Physical confrontations have to be taken very seriously and can only occur in very specific situations. Generally speaking, the largest prohibition is on the bouncer striking first. If you hit the bouncer, physical force is then on the table and he can hit you back, but not the other way around. The force cannot be used to get you to comply with an order.

Reasonable Force

The force used also has to be reasonable and typically needs to be equal to whatever force the bouncer is facing. So, if you punch the bouncer in the face, he can punch you back. However, if you slap the bouncer, he can't pick up a nearby beer bottle and hit you in the head. All force is not warranted, even when the line to physical violence is first crossed by the patron.

Breaking Up Fights

Bouncers may also be able to use force, even if no patrons directed violence at them, if they are trying to stop a fight and protect others. If your group and the other get into a fight in the bar, the bouncer could generally tackle you or pin you down, even though you didn't do anything against the bouncer specifically. The rule about reasonable force still stands, though.

Injury Compensation

Were you injured by a bouncer who attacked without being provoked? Or, if you did start the fight, did the bouncer use unreasonable force? If so, you may want to know your legal rights.