How To Handle Becoming Injured In A Restaurant
Dining at a restaurant is, more often than not, a pleasurable experience. But, like anything in life, there is always the possibility that something could go wrong. If you were injured at a restaurant, either due to an accident or assault by an employee, you may be in a position to sue the owner for damages.
However, before you seek legal action for a personal injury, take a look at these important considerations to improve your case and ensure your success.
What Responsibilities Does an Owner Have to His Customers?
First, it’s imperative that you understand what is expected of a restaurant owner. There are several things that, by law, the owner of a restaurant must provide for his or her customers. If the owner is found negligent in any of these duties, he may be liable for damages.
Above all, they must provide a safe environment for their patrons. This includes a proper entrance and exit, clean, dry floors, proper signage to alert guests of any spills or uneven flooring, and properly maintained seating. Of course, these things only apply to areas where customers are allowed to go.
An owner may also be responsible for damages if a member of his or her staff physically assaults a customer or if he or she fails to remove a threatening third party from the premises. For example, if another patron randomly assaults you without warning or provocation, the owner may not be held responsible for the incident. However, the owner could be held responsible if that patron openly threatened you but was not removed by the owner or staff.
Responsibilities to Employees
As an employee, the owner of a restaurant has certain responsibilities to you as well:
- Provide a safe workspace
- Proper procedures should be followed if an employee is injured on the job, including filing a report that should be forwarded to a workers’ compensation carrier
- Allow the employee to leave the premises to seek medical attention if requested
Your boss is never in any position to violate your rights or any laws associated with a work injury, and it is their responsibility to be aware of those rights and laws.
There are a few pieces of information you should document before you leave the restaurant:
- The owner’s name
- The restaurant’s property liability insurance information (if applicable)
- Any unsafe conditions or practices that caused your injury
Evaluate Your Situation
A winning case always has a recognizable legal claim, meaning you must be able to specifically identify what caused your injury, such as food poisoning, premises liability, or negligent hiring. Without that, your personal injury case may not be successful.
Take the time to evaluate your injury. It’s not unheard of for courts to throw out frivolous lawsuits, so make sure your injury is severe enough to justify your case. To better your chances, write down everything: what happened to cause the injury, medical examinations, costs, etc.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask yourself if the benefits of the lawsuit will outweigh the costs. Not only does it cost money to file a lawsuit, you’ll likely find it to be emotionally and mentally taxing.
Seek Medical Attention ASAP
Go to a doctor as soon as possible for a professional opinion of your injury. A medical professional’s opinion will hold up much better in court than yours since it validates your claim.
Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
Finally, if you’re going forward with a personal injury lawsuit, seek professional help from a personal injury attorney, the sooner the better. The statute of limitations in Pennsylvania is two years, so you will need assistance making your case in a timely manner.