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Can You Sue a Restaurant for Negligence?

16:23 December 16, 2020
By: Allen Brown

Going to a restaurant should always be a pleasant experience. Getting anything short of optimum service should be inconceivable, so imagine how unforgivable it would be to go for a comforting meal only to end up with something like food poisoning! Unfortunately, injuries can be a common occurrence in restaurants. Whether it's due to consuming bad food or suffering from an accident, you may sue the restaurant for the damage you've suffered due to their negligence. However, building a case is not always black and white. It's important to understand the liability extent and limits before deciding to sue. That being said, here's everything you need to know.

Common Restaurant Illnesses and Injuries

Getting food poisoning from eating bad food is not the only kind of damage you may suffer in a restaurant. You may slip and fall on a dirty and slippery surface, cut yourself on broken glass, get exposed to danger in a poorly lit restaurant garage or parking lot, or get burned by hot beverages and food spilled on you by inexperienced servers. Other forms of damage can come from a restaurant owner's and management's negligence of providing a safe place, such as dram law violations and negligent security. Whether you've been a victim in the restaurant or the restaurant has directly caused your injury, you may be able to get compensated for the damage you've suffered by filing a lawsuit against the restaurant.

When Are Restaurants Liable for Injury?

Unfortunately, suffering from an injury due to a restaurant's negligence is pretty common. Everyone still remembers the 2015 Chipotle restaurant incident where more than 500 people around Virginia got sick from eating contaminated food. In similar situations, it would take a personal injury attorney, Richmond and Virginia-located, to gather the facts and help the victims build a strong case. Generally speaking, a restaurant can be held liable for negligence if all factors of negligence are proven and if this negligence is directly correlated to the injury suffered.

This means that you'll have to provide evidence that the injuries you've sustained resulted from the actions, or omission, of the restaurant. Your evidence should point out how these injuries were foreseeable by the restaurant owner and management and how they were negligent to the safety and care standards that the restaurant should have upheld. You'll also have to link the negligent actions directly to your injury and provide measurable proof for the damage you've sustained, such as providing medical bills.

Liability Limits

However, there are a few limits to proving a restaurant's liability. For instance, the restaurant won't face any liability if the victim was injured while wandering off into a restricted area. In case the injury sustained was caused by a third party, the restaurant won't be held responsible, either. Furthermore, accidents that result despite the warning of the restaurant and its staff fall out of the liability boundaries. Generally speaking, any incident that involves you contributing to your own injury will either deny the claim or limit the compensation you get. Such is the case if the injured person had been warned about hot surfaces and they ignored the warning, thus suffering from a foreseen burn.

Other liability limits involve unforeseeable circumstances. This is the case with injuries that arise from the sudden onset of natural disasters, like earthquakes, or dangerous situations in which the restaurant didn't have enough time to manage the damage. For instance, if another customer spills their food and you slip and fall immediately as a result, the restaurant won't be held responsible.

Building Your Case

Building a strong case can be difficult, but here's how you can ensure that you have everything ready:

1. First of all, you should call for help immediately. Don't leave the restaurant; call the manager over instead, and report the situation. Call 911 if the injury is severe.

2. Look around for witnesses, get their testimonials, let them sign and date the statement, and ask them if they'll be willing to testify about the incident later on.

3. Use your phone to document the scene of the accident by taking pictures, videos, and audio records.

4. Keep a record of everything taking place, as well as the names and contact information of the witnesses, managers, waiters, and any present individuals.

5. Most importantly, keep your medical records well maintained and ready to provide for your lawyer. These are the most important pieces of evidence to strengthen your case.

If you succeed in building a strong case, you'll be able to sue the restaurant for negligence. The restaurant will then be held responsible for compensating you for the medical bills, out-pocket expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering you've endured as a result of their negligent actions. However, it's important to understand when you can sue the restaurant for negligence and when the liability falls elsewhere.

Allen Brown is a dad of three kids and is an avid writer covering a range of topics, such as internet marketing, SEO, and more. When not writing, he's found behind a drum kit.

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