Eating out at a restaurant should be a fun and relaxing experience. However, restaurants are full of opportunities for accidents to happen. From falling objects due to improper installation or storage to food poisoning from spoiled ingredients to cuts caused by broken dishes, burns from too-hot food, and slipping on wet or uneven floors.
The National Floor Safety Institute estimates that over three million food service employees and one million guests are injured yearly in slip and fall accidents. These incidents are more common than you may realize, and you need to know what to do if it happens to you.
Knowing Your Next Step Is Key
It’s a restaurant’s job to ensure your safety when you walk through their doors. Whether the hazards in a restaurant are present due to understaffing, failure to follow safety protocols or flat-out negligence, the business can be liable for damages if someone is injured.
In a personal injury case, most of the burden of proof falls on the plaintiff. Read on to find out the four most important steps you must take to have the best chance of successfully proving your claim.
1. Properly Document the Incident
The second you sustain an injury, your first step should be to ensure you preserve the scene and document the incident. Ask the person you’re with or another guest to take detailed pictures, and focus on the details around you, such as floor conditions, restaurant layout, fixtures and sharp objects, and security camera placement.
Once you have pictures in hand, note what happened and when it occurred, including details about what may have caused your accident and how employees responded when it happened. If you don’t properly document your story, the restaurant may develop its own version of events.
Finally, get contact information from witnesses in case you need to contact them for a statement, and document any comments or information they provide.
2. Report the Incident to the Restaurant
Don’t overlook reporting the incident to the restaurant owner or shift manager. Follow their incident reporting protocol, and ensure you thoroughly complete any paperwork.
When you speak with the person in charge that day, don’t make any statements discussing or assessing your actions or injuries, as the restaurant can use them against you in your case.
3. Seek Immediate Medical Treatment
Restaurant accidents can result in serious injuries, so you’ll want to seek medical treatment immediately. Even if you are not hurting, a thorough medical exam will uncover any hidden injuries or issues that may develop in the future.
Not only will your medical records prove a diagnosis in court, but seeking medical attention helps to prove to insurance companies that your injuries were severe enough to warrant urgent care. Remember to follow your doctor’s orders, as not doing so can jeopardize your case.
4. Contact an Attorney
Speaking with an attorney will likely give you greater confidence in your case and ensure you take the right actions. They’ll make sure you preserve key evidence and avoid verbal statements that can come back to haunt you later.
Contacting a personal injury attorney also demonstrates to the restaurant and their insurer that you’re serious about your case.
The Right Representation Matters
While you want an attorney, having the right representation matters. You need a legal professional who is experienced with personal injury cases and knows what it’s like to face big insurance companies in court.
A good attorney will ensure your argument is sound and your case is presented well. They can also evaluate and negotiate any settlement an insurer offers you.
When you’re ready to proceed with your case, contact a personal injury attorney at Saeedian Law Group in Los Angeles, CA. Let our professionals evaluate your claim and help you pursue your deserved compensation.