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Personal Injury Claims in Restaurants

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If you are injured while dining at a restaurant, did you know you may be entitled to compensation for your damages? Examples of such injuries can include:
  • If you become ill from eating the restaurant's food, you may be able to file a personal injury claim based on food poisoning.

  • If the restaurant's floors are slippery and you fall and are injured, you may be able to sue the restaurant to cover your medical expenses.

  • If your property is damaged by a restaurant employee, you may have cause to file a personal injury lawsuit. An example of this might be if your waiter carelessly pours coffee on your laptop computer or if the restaurant's employee knocks down your fence while delivering your catering order.

  • Restaurant Owners Responsibilities
    The owner of the restaurant cannot predict or prevent every possible injury to patrons, but they do have the responsibility to take basic steps to ensure patron safety, such as:
  • Providing and maintaining a safe entrance and exit to and from the restaurant;

  • Making sure patrons can safely go from the dining area to the restrooms and back;

  • Following Health Department regulations to safely store, handle, prepare and serve food and beverages;

  • Regularly inspecting restaurant equipment, from tables and chairs to glassware and utensils, to ensure it is in proper working order;

  • Keeping floors free of obstructions (like water, electrical cords or uneven surfaces) that might cause a patron to slip and fall;

  • Alerting patrons if anything in the restaurant poses a safety threat, so that patrons can take adequate steps to avoid injury (like posting a "wet floors" sign after mopping).

  • Personal injury claims come about when a restaurant owner fails to meet any of these basic responsibilities.

    What to Do If You are Injured in a Restaurant

    First, seek medical attention, and document your injuries and treatment. Take photographs of any injuries you receive as soon as possible and even during the healing process to support your claim of injury. You may even want to document weight loss you experience if you are unable to eat or keep food down for extended periods due to serious illnesses like salmonella poisoning.

    An attorney licensed to practice personal injury law can assist you in obtaining copies of your medical records related to the injury, including x-rays and your doctor's notes on your condition. Be sure to keep records of all expenses you incurred as a result of your injury, like medical bills, but also keep track of lost wages from any times you were unable to work due to your injury.

    Your personal injury lawyer may also interview restaurant employees or other patrons who witnessed your injury, as well as take photographs of the restaurant to document anything that contributed to your injury.

    What Happens Next in My Personal Injury Claim?

    Your personal injury attorney will assess your claim based on the medical evidence, your expenses and his professional expertise. He will contact the restaurant with a suggested personal injury settlement amount. The restaurant may choose to pay immediately or negotiate the settlement amount with your attorney. Should the restaurant owner attempt to deny any responsibility for your injuries, your attorney may file suit against the restaurant on your behalf; in this case, a judge and/or jury may hear your case and award damages based on the evidence presented. No matter how your case is settled, a personal injury attorney is a strong advocate working on your behalf in fighting the restaurant to recover your damages and receive compensation for your injuries.
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