Slip and falls are one of the biggest risks patrons and workers can experience in a restaurant. With waitstaff busy bringing drinks to and from the bar or kitchen, there’s always the risk of a spill. Plates and bowls brimming with soups and sauces are also likely to spill. If those spills do not get cleaned up fast enough, an unsuspecting diner or staff member could slip and cause serious injury.
Head injuries are one risk of a fall. There can also be hip, arm, leg, back, or rib fractures. All can be incredibly painful and require a lot of time to heal. Head injuries can be dangerous and lead to brain swelling and permanent injury. If you’ve fallen on the job or were walking through a restaurant and fell, the restaurant may be liable.
OSHA Requirements for Restaurants
OSHA requires that restaurants keep the floors are clean and dry. Non-slip flooring like rubber mats with holes that drain water away is a way that restaurant owners can keep employees safe. They can also make sure there are workers who are always checking for spills and cleaning them immediately and properly drying the floor after. If there’s no time to immediately clean, a wet floor sign should be placed over the spill until someone can get to it.
Carpeting and tiles need to be free of any problems. There cannot be rips or holes in carpeting that pose a hazard. Tiles need to be secure. All of this is a requirement that management should not ignore. You need to report any injuries to your manager. You also need to report any potential issues that could lead to a slip and fall to management.
State Laws Require Restaurants to Keep Customers Safe
Restaurants are bound to a duty of care. This means that the restaurant is required to take measures to keep patrons and workers safe. The duty of care extends both inside and outside the restaurant. If a patron slips on some ice in the restaurant’s parking lot and that ice has been there for days, the restaurant has failed to meet that duty of care.
Say you’re finding a seat in a fast-food restaurant and don’t notice that someone has spilled water and ice near the soda machines. You slip and break a rib. You hear a worker say they know they were supposed to clean that hours ago, but it got busy. The restaurant is liable as they should have put up a wet floor sign until it could be cleaned up.
Another example would be in one of the areas where slip and fall accidents occur frequently. The manager knows the bathroom sink has been leaking but ignores it. Weeks later, a customer slips on the wet floor and gets a head injury. The manager’s actions are negligent, which makes the restaurant liable for the customer’s injuries.
Report Slip and Fall Accidents Immediately
If you fall in a restaurant setting, make sure the restaurant is aware of it. They must report employee injuries that require more than simple first aid treatments and post an annual injury report for three months. If you’re told to keep working in an environment you fear will lead to a slip and fall, you’re allowed by law to refuse. They cannot punish you for your refusal.
If you’re a diner and you’re injured in a restaurant through no fault of your own, the restaurant should pay for your medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If the restaurant denies the claim and you can prove they were negligent, talk to a lawyer.
Before you leave the restaurant, make sure someone takes photos of the reason you fell. If the sink is leaking take photos of the puddle and any water that is dripping down the pipes. Get a photo of the log that shows when the bathroom was last cleaned and who cleaned it. If you’ve overheard a staff member say they’ve been complaining about that issue for weeks, get that employee’s name.
The same is true for areas outside the building. If there’s ice, take photos of the icy sidewalks or parking lot. Get photos of broken or torn flooring. If you need videos to show the extent of the issue, do that.
If paramedics are called to look at your injuries, and hopefully they have, follow their advice. If they recommend you take the ride in the ambulance, accept it. You want to have reports from a doctor that detail the extent of your injuries and the instructions for care after you get home. If the doctor says you have a concussion and to take it easy for a week, don’t go back to work, even if money is tight and you feel okay.
Clients come first at Jordan Law. When a restaurant’s negligence led to a fall that left you injured, you need to understand your rights. That can be hard, which is why we’re here to help. We ensure your complaint is taken seriously and that you’re treated fairly. Talk to one of our attorneys today. All initial consultations are free, and we have the expertise you need to ensure you get what you deserve. Call or message us to get started.