Restaurant slip and falls typically involve spilled food or drink that has not been cleaned, torn carpets, broken tiles, uneven sidewalks or pavement outside the restaurant, and poor lighting in parking lots. Restaurant owners have a legal duty of care to their patrons and must keep their premises safe or post warnings about any existing hazards on the property. If you slip and fall in a restaurant and are injured as a result, you may be able to sue the restaurant for damages as long as you can prove that the accident was due to negligence on their part.
For the restaurant owner to be held liable for your slip and fall injuries, one of the three following criteria must be proven:
- The owner of the premises or an employee knew about the safety hazard but did nothing about it.
- The owner of the premises or an employee should have known within reason about the safety hazard and removed or repaired it after discovering it.
- The owner of the premises or an employee caused the safety hazard, such as a spill, slippery surface, or worn spot.
One of the gray areas of premises liability is what actions are considered to be “within reason” or “reasonable” on the part of the property owner. The court will examine if the restaurant has a regular and thorough program in place to keep the premises safe and clean. The circumstances surrounding your slip and fall accident can show if the restaurant reasonably knew about or should have known about the hazard or not. If a server dropped a drink and then seconds later you slipped on the wet floor, it will be difficult to prove that the restaurant should have known about the slick surface and cleaned it up or warned you. However, if you fell and injured yourself because the entranceway was slippery from melting snow and ice on patron’s shoes, the restaurant had no rug to absorb the moisture, and did not mop up the entranceway, you may have a valid claim.
Sometimes, identifying who is the property owner of a restaurant can be complicated. It may be a corporate chain, local franchise owner, or the premises may be leased. Holding the responsible party accountable may be difficult. Consult with an experienced slip and fall lawyer who can help you determine the best legal path for compensation.
Compensation Claims for Restaurant Slip and Falls
The Pennsylvania statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years from the date of your accident. The law is strict, so if your claim falls outside this timeframe, it will almost certainly be rejected by the court.
Pennsylvania law also says that if the accident was partially your fault, the damages you are awarded will be reduced by a percentage determined to be your amount of fault. In other words, if you were 20 percent at fault for the slip and fall because you were texting someone and did not see the safety hazard, you will receive compensation in the amount awarded by the court minus 20 percent. If you are found to have been more than 50 percent responsible for the slip and fall, you cannot receive any damages at all.
Philadelphia Slip and Fall Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Provide Experienced Legal Counsel to Those Injured in Restaurant Trip and Falls
Slip and fall injuries can significantly impact your quality of life and ability to earn a living. If you have been injured in a trip and fall, consult one of our Philadelphia slip and fall lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC. Call us at 215-569-8488 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia and Abington, Pennsylvania, and Wilmington, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the surrounding areas.