Holding Restaurants Accountable in Premises Liability Claims
Restaurants are businesses, and they owe a certain duty of care to those who have a right to be on their premises. This includes guests who come to dine, vendors who come to drop off products, and any other individuals invited onto the property. However, holding restaurants accountable if an injury occurs on their premises can be challenging. Here, we want to discuss these challenges as well as the reasons why an experienced Sacramento premises liability attorney is necessary for these claims.
Types of Restaurant Premises Liability
There are various types of injuries that can occur at a restaurant. In many cases, these injuries are caused by the careless or negligent actions of the restaurant owner or operator. This can include the careless actions of employees present, as they represent the restaurant itself. Some of the ways that restaurants could be held liable include the following:
- Food and drink spills. These types of incidents are incredibly common at restaurants, and staff members should immediately clean known drinks or food spills.
- Traditional slip and fall incidents. Slip and fall incidents can certainly occur in various ways aside from spills of food or drink. This can include uneven walking surfaces, poorly lit areas, and loose carpeting.
- Negligent security. Restaurants could be held responsible if they know about certain safety risks and fail to take steps to prevent incidents from occurring. This can include restaurants in higher crime areas failing to provide security at entrances.
- Dangerous property conditions. Just like any other type of property, a restaurant could have dangerous property conditions arise, including poorly designed stairs, broken ramps, missing handrails, etc.
- Unsafe food prep. Individuals in the kitchen are responsible for adequately storing food and safely preparing food for guests. Failing to do so could result in incidents such as food poisoning.
The Elements of Negligence
In order to hold a restaurant accountable for injuries or illnesses that occur on their premises, it must be shown that the restaurant owner or an agent of the owner was negligent. Establishing negligence is challenging but starts with proving that there was a duty of care between the restaurant and the plaintiff. This duty of care will likely exist if the plaintiff had a right to be on the premises at the time the incident occurred.
After showing that there was a duty of care present, it must be shown that the restaurant owner or their agent breached their duty of care. This can include the restaurant owner knowing about but failing to remedy a known hazard, a chef or food prep employee failing to safely prepare food, and various other ways that will need to be investigated as the claim is ongoing.
After establishing that there was a breach of duty by the defendant, it must be shown that the breach of duty directly or indirectly caused the plaintiff’s injury or illness. Additionally, there must be proof that the plaintiff suffered some sort of monetary loss as a result of the injury or illness. This can include medical bills, lost income, as well as various types of pain and suffering damages.
Why an Attorney is Necessary
Premises liability claims against restaurants can be notoriously difficult. An attorney can step in and use their resources to conduct a full investigation of the incident and then handle all negotiations with other parties involved. If necessary, an attorney can fully prepare the case for trial.