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Were you Injured While Dining out at a Restaurant?

June 27, 2012
By The Wiseman Law Firm

Orlando has outstanding restaurants along with the usual fast food franchises. Under Florida’s premises liability laws, restaurant owners have a legal duty to ensure that their premises are kept in a reasonably safe condition. This mean restaurant owners need to prevent hazardous conditions from existing, however, in the event a hazardous condition does exist, they have a duty to warn of that condition. A warning can be verbal or can be through some type of visual cue such as “wet floor” signs.

It is important for restaurant owners to inspect their premises on a regular basis so that it is free from hazardous conditions, or if a condition exists that it is quickly remedied. Further, if food is served at the restaurant there are strict health and safety regulations which must be complied with.

You can be injured at a restaurant in a number of ways:

  • Slip and fall
  • Assault/battery by an intoxicated patron
  • Assault/battery/rape in restaurant parking lot
  • Food poisoning

Premises Liability

A slip and fall or an assault/battery that takes place on the restaurant premises is often called a premises liability case. If you fell on a piece of food or spilled drink, you must demonstrate that the item or hazardous condition was present for an unreasonable period of time. If it occurred just a few minutes before your accident, the property owner may not have had a reasonable time period to clean it up, unless it can demonstrated that they were on notice of the dangerous condition.

If you fell on a defective step or floor, or from inadequate lighting that concealed a dangerous condition, the owner should have either warned you of the condition or have remedied it following an inspection. However, remember you do have a duty to avoid open and obvious conditions and to not ignore posted warnings.

Restaurants, like any bar, cannot serve alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person and can be liable for their actions if other people are injured as a result of that obviously intoxicated person. If you are injured by someone at the restaurant who had been served alcohol despite his or her obviously intoxicated state, you may have an injury claim against the restaurant. Contact The Wiseman Law Firm to determine if you have a claim.

Similarly, if you were attacked in the parking lot that had a history of criminal attacks in the past, poor lighting or inadequate security, the owner could be liable for your injuries and resulting damages.

Food Poisoning

If you fell ill from contaminated food, you could have a cause of action for negligence, strict liability, or breach of warranty.

In Florida, you have to show that the food you ate was contaminated, that it came from a particular restaurant, and that you fell ill because of it. Many times, numerous patrons who ate the same food that day will experience the same symptoms, thus demonstrating that it was the restaurant food as opposed to another source.

In many cases, your lawyer will likely demonstrate that the restaurant did not follow regulations or failed to exercise reasonable care in preparing or distributing the food. The supplier of the food may also be held liable if the food is found to have been contaminated before reaching the restaurant.

Your attorney can also investigate any prior health inspections regarding the restaurant’s record of hygiene and health code compliance to determine if there were any past violations. This may help show that the restaurant has a habit of failing to keep its customers safe.

Insurance Coverage

Restaurants often have policies of insurance which cover medical expenses for an injured person on their property regardless of fault. In addition, restaurant owners carry big million dollar insurance policies in the event their negligence causes a customer injury.

Retain The Wiseman Law Firm

Premises liability and food poisoning cases are complex cases that require unique skills and particular knowledge. The Wiseman Law Firm has successfully represented numerous clients who have been injured while dining out in Orlando or elsewhere in Florida from either food contamination, slip and fall, or other hazardous conditions present on the restaurant property.

Let The Wiseman Law Firm help you. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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