What to Do When You Get Injured at a Restaurant

At Case Barnett Law, we know that many accidents happen when you least expect them, including in public. Although some can’t be avoided, others are caused by negligence and warrant legal action. Need help? Call us at (949) 409-0055 to get started. 

Whether it’s a special occasion or just a reprieve from the kitchen, going to a restaurant is supposed to be a relaxing, enjoyable experience. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. 

Although it never crosses most people’s minds, the reality is that restaurants are full of potential hazards. It is the job of the restaurant owner and staff to make sure that potentially dangerous conditions are remedied. When they fail to do so, they risk the safety of their patrons, and in some cases, serious accidents can occur. 

If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a restaurant accident, you may be eligible to pursue compensation. Luckily, you don’t need to Google “what to do when you get injured at a restaurant” to find out. As a top Orange County personal injury lawyer, we’ve handled countless cases involving premises liability, and we may be able to help you, too. 

Ready to learn what’s next? Keep reading to find out more about your legal options in the aftermath of a restaurant accident. 

restaurant in california

Restaurant Injuries: Why Do They Happen? 

Whenever a business serves a rotating influx of customers everyday, a lot can go wrong—especially when there’s food involved. A number of different factors contribute to restaurant accidents, and although some are unavoidable, many are caused by negligence. 

Types of Restaurant Injuries

Both employees and patrons can fall victim to a number of restaurant injuries. The following are among the most common: 

  • Slip-and-fall injuries. When restaurants fail to use sufficient slip-proof rugs, clean spills in the dining room or back-of-house or clear their sidewalks from snow and ice, both customers and employees can suffer serious injuries. 
  • Food poisoning. Customers can suffer serious illness when served food containing spoiled ingredients or when they come into contact with dishes, surfaces and bathrooms that aren’t properly cleaned. 
  • Burns. It is irresponsible for restaurants to serve dishes at a temperature that could seriously burn customers. Kitchen staff may also suffer serious injuries when cooking, especially if ovens, stoves, pots, pans, utensils and other equipment are broken or defective. 
  • Sprains, strains and breaks caused by falling objects. Restaurants that take advantage of overhead storage—whether in areas accessible to customers or just in back-of-house—must make sure that it is reasonably safe and easy to access. 
  • Punctures and lacerations. Broken dishes, knives and other sharp objects that are left around or carelessly handled can injure both patrons and employees. 

These are just a few of the myriad types of injuries that can result from restaurant accidents. They represent the potential effects of accidents, but they are not the root cause. 

What Causes Restaurant Accidents?

When a restaurant (or any storefront) opens its doors to the public, it is inviting potential patrons inside. In doing so, business owners have an obligation to ensure the environment is safe and free from hazards. 

When restaurant owners and managers fail to maintain a safe, danger-free environment or to warn guests about potential hazards, they are acting negligently. If a guest is injured as a result, they may be held liable for resulting damages, a legal concept known as premises liability

The following examples are some of the main causes of restaurant injuries: 

  • Inadequate staffing. Although operating a business with a skeleton crew can save the owner a few bucks on wages, it puts everyone—customers and workers—at risk. Employees who are rushed and stressed are more likely to make critical mistakes and not notice and correct potential hazards. 
  • Poor building maintenance. Whether it’s a floorboard that’s on the verge of breaking, waterlogged ceiling titles containing toxic mold or a rusty counter corner that scrapes passersby—any defective or broken part of the building that could injure someone should be fixed. 
  • Lack of safety protocols. Some restaurant injuries wouldn’t have occurred if the owner or manager had set-up adequate safety protocols. For example, a restaurant can avoid most slip-and-fall accidents by properly training the staff to scan for spills frequently, address them urgently and set up wet floor signs on areas that aren’t completely dry.
  • Defective dishware or furniture. It is the restaurant’s responsibility not to serve customers anything that could injure them. When cutlery, dishware, chairs, tables, etc., are too old, broken or defective, they should be replaced. 
  • Damaged or uncleared sidewalks. A business has a responsibility to clear the sidewalk in front of their building from snow, ice or anything else that may cause customers to trip. Similarly, restaurants are responsible for maintaining that sidewalk and should swiftly address broken or raised concrete that may pose a hazard to pedestrians.

Accidents happen all the time; you could trip on your shoelace and end up with a broken bone. However, injuries resulting from these reasons are different. Rather than just bad luck, they are the result of negligence, which means they were avoidable. 

Wondering What to Do When You Get Injured at a Restaurant? Consider Taking These Steps

As accident attorneys in Orange County, the legal experts at Case Barnett Law have worked with victims of just about every type of accident you can imagine. And in cases of premises liability—including restaurant accidents—we know that there are a few steps you can take to make getting compensation for your injuries A LOT easier. 

If you’re able, the most important thing you can do is document the scene of the accident. Take pictures on your phone, make notes, get contact information from witnesses—gather every piece of evidence you can. It will prove invaluable if you decide to take legal action. When you get medical care, make sure to do the same; gather evidence of treatment and diagnosis, as well as bills and other paperwork. 

Then, find an experienced personal injury lawyer in Southern California with a proven track record of winning in cases like yours. Unsure where to look? If you’re wondering what to do when you get injured at a restaurant, you don’t have to figure it out alone. Contact our firm to schedule a free consultation with trusted attorneys in your area. 

Case C. Barnett
Costa Mesa Personal Injury Attorney practicing in child injury law, car accident injuries and elder abuse law
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