My ex-husband and I were at a buffet. He poured gravy onto his plate, and some of it spilled onto the floor. I’ve worked in restaurants most of my life, so I know what a hazard this is. I said, “You’d better report this to someone so they can clean it up.” He said I was exaggerating. Within seconds, a woman was on her back on the floor screaming and threatening to sue.
Slip and fall accidents happen in restaurants on a regular basis. Anyone who works or has worked in a restaurant knows this, but still, too many restaurants don’t do enough to try to prevent these accidents. At a crowded buffet where people have access to self-serve gravy, there will always be the risk of an accident.
There should have been a mat on the floor, but there wasn’t. They probably placed a mat there afterward, once the injured woman filed a claim against them in court. If you are at a restaurant that doesn’t take adequate restaurant safety precautions, you could end up injured. Maybe even permanently. If you’re reading this now, it may have already happened,
When you consider how much foot traffic restaurants get, it’s not surprising that they have a high rate of slip and fall injuries. Restaurant floors can be greasy and slippery, drinks can be spilled, and food can be spilled, too. And yes, gravy. If you slip on it and you’re injured, what are your options?
Why Slip and Fall Accidents Happen in Restaurants
Spilled food and drinks aren’t the only reason slip and fall accidents happen in restaurants. Some common reasons these accidents happen are:
- A parking lot that is badly maintained or poorly lit
- Uneven floors
- Poorly lit or unmarked steps or stairs
- Loose carpets
- Objects in walkways
- Uneven mats
- Failure to use a caution wet floors sign
A restaurant has a duty to keep the customers safe, and that includes giving the employees adequate training to avoid slip and fall accidents. If the staff isn’t properly trained or they fail to take care of potential hazards, accidents can and will happen.
Common Slip and Fall Injuries
Slip and fall accidents are more common than you may realize. Each year in the United States, more than one-million people visit the emergency room for treatment for injuries caused by slipping and falling. These are the most common types of injuries:
- Hip fractures
- Head injuries
- Neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Brachial plexus injuries
- Dislocated shoulder
- Broken bones and fractures
- Lacerations and bruises
- Knee injuries
- Elbow or wrist injuries
After an injury, it’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions so your recovery will go as smoothly as possible. If you are on your feet or back at work before the doctor medically clears you, you could make your recovery take longer or make your injuries worse.
What to Do if You Slip and Fall in a Restaurant
After a slip and fall accident in a restaurant, what you do next is critical because you’re likely to end up filing a lawsuit. Here are the steps involved.
Get Medical Treatment
If you find yourself suddenly flat on your back in a restaurant, don’t move. Instruct the restaurant’s employees to call 911 and tell them you’ll wait for the paramedics to move you. You could have a serious injury that could be worsened if you’re moved.
If you feel like you’re okay and you can move, seek immediate medical attention. Some injuries aren’t apparent until later on. You need a medical record of your injuries, and medical clearance of your injuries could allow you to begin a lawsuit.
Report the Accident
After your slip and fall, you’ll need to make sure the restaurant’s manager makes a report of the incident in writing. It’s important to not discuss any details of the incident, because the manager may be looking for excuses to blame you for the accident. Make sure to get a copy of the accident report, because you may need it in court.
Gather Your Evidence
If your injuries aren’t so serious that you can’t, you’ll want to try to take photos and videos of the area where you fell. If possible, take photos of the spilled food or drink or the object that caused your fall. You’ll also want to take photos of your injuries, and don’t forget to take pictures of your shoes. You’ll need all of this when you’re proving your case in court.
If there are security cameras present, you’ll want to photograph them as well. It’s unlikely that the restaurant’s management or owners will let you review the footage. What is more likely is that they’ll destroy it. Your photos will prove that they did so.
Get Legal Representation
According to Baderscott.com, a team of slip and fall lawyers in Atlanta, GA, you should not have to worry about the bills that were caused by a restaurant’s negligence. An attorney can litigate, mediate, and negotiate the case on your behalf. Your attorneys can also make a record of eyewitness accounts of your accident, and they’ll bring in eyewitnesses when necessary.
No one expects to be injured in a restaurant, but accidents happen. If the worst should happen and you end up getting hurt due to a restaurant’s negligence, you have the right to file a legal claim and receive compensation.
If the restaurant is proven to be negligent, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills and lost wages. In cases where the injuries are more serious, you may also be compensated for ongoing medical treatment, physical or occupational therapy, and caretaker expenses or the cost of medical equipment like wheelchairs or walkers.
If your slip and fall accident leaves you permanently disabled and unable to work, you may also be compensated for future lost earnings. Your pain and suffering will also be compensated.
When an accident is caused by a restaurant’s negligence, it is completely preventable. No one should end up injured or disabled because they decided to enjoy a nice meal out. Thankfully, we have a legal system in place that may ensure that the only bill you get stuck covering is the restaurant table.