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When Is a Restaurant Responsible for a Patron's Injury?

When you go out to eat at a restaurant, getting hurt is often the last thing on your mind. Restaurants can be hectic environments and between kitchen staff rushing to meet patron orders and servers quickly bussing food around, accidents can happen. Restaurant owners and staff have a duty to provide a safe environment for customers and when an accident does occur, they may be held legally responsible for any resulting injuries.

Not all injuries which take place in a restaurant will have a legal basis for a personal injury suit and for a claim to be successful, several elements must be present. Typically, it must be shown that (1) the restaurant owner or staff acted negligently or knowingly allowed a dangerous condition to exist and (2) The condition or action led directly to a patron’s injury. With this in mind, let’s take a look at three situations in which a restaurant may incur liability.

  1. Slip and falls: Among the most common injury is a fall that occurs from spilled food and beverages. The longer the dangerous condition exists, the greater the chance that the restaurant can be found liable. Business owners can be responsible for accidents which occur anywhere in their establishment including parking lots which are under their control. For example, the failure to clearly mark or address situations such as uneven pavement can lead to slip and fall accidents.
  2. Severe burns: Other common injuries in restaurants are burns caused by extremely hot plates and food. Servers who are moving quickly or who slip and fall themselves can drop burning hot items directly onto the laps of patrons. While the person who ordered the dish may have been warned of the potential hazards, the majority of customers may have no reason to be aware of the danger.
  3. Dram shop laws: Restaurants may also incur liability under “dram shop” laws if they continue to serve alcohol to an overly-intoxicated individual and that person injures another patron. For example, if a clearly drunk patron is allowed to continue ordering drinks and becomes violent against another customer, the injured party may be able to bring legal action against both the business and the perpetrator.

In Connecticut, personal injury claims are subject to comparative fault. This means that the overall value of your claim can be reduced if the victim shares any part of the blame for an accident. For example, if a patron suffers an injury after accidentally entering an area that was marked for “employees only”, the restaurant may argue that the victim shares part of the blame for the accident. The total value of a claim can be reduced in relation to the amount that a patron is found to be at fault. In order to keep your interests protected after an accident, it is important to contact a knowledgeable attorney.

Injured on Another Person’s Property? Call (877) 795-5594

These methods represent only a fraction of the ways an individual may be hurt while out at a restaurant and if you have been injured, you may be able to seek monetary compensation. At Carlson & Dumeer, LLC, we have worked tirelessly to earn our reputation for delivering effective legal services and we are highly rated by our past clients. Contact our Hartford personal injury attorneys today and find out how we can help you in a free initial consultation.

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