Many things can go wrong at a restaurant.  You may suffer food poisoning, choke on a bone, or suffer an allergic reaction.  You might also be injured in other ways at a restaurant.

What Duties Does a Restaurant Owner Have?

A restaurant owner must keep his restaurant in reasonably safe condition for his customers.  The owner must warn people of hidden dangers and provide furniture that is safe.  However, the owner only needs to make safe the places in his restaurant where people can be expected to go.  If he is negligent in his duty, he can be liable for damages.  Some things the owner is required to do include: 
  • Provide a safe means of entry and exit.
  • Maintain safe passageway from the eating area to the restroom.
  • Properly maintain and inspect seats, stools, and chairs.
  • Make sure the floor is not slippery to avoid accidents.
  • Make sure the floor does not have dangerous defects such as bumps and cracks.

What if I am Assaulted in a Restaurant?

A restaurant owner can be held responsible if he or one of his employees assaults a customer.  The employer is responsible for the acts of the employee.  However, you cannot sue if the only injury you suffered was humiliation and embarrassment from insulting words of an employee.  If a third party assaults you in the restaurant, the owner is not responsible, unless he should have known the attack would happen and did not take steps to prevent it.  For example, the owner may be liable if he fails to kick out an intoxicated customer who made threats of beating people up and actually assaulted another customer. 

What Limits on Liability are There?

The negligence of the owner must cause the injury and not some other unforeseen event.  Also, the owner is only responsible for unreasonable risks.  That means that the owner does not have to fix every possible dangerous condition.  If the condition is so obvious that everyone should know to avoid it, then there is no liability.  Furthermore, if the defect did not exist long enough for the owner to possibly discover it, there is no liability.  Contributory negligence and assumption of risk may also limit recovery.  

Should I Contact a Lawyer if I Have Been Injured in a Restaurant?

If you have been hurt or injured during a visit to a restaurant and want to assess the viability of your claim, the advice of a personal injury lawyer can be extremely helpful.  An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you investigate your injury and recover damages.