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When Restaurants Can Be Responsible for Illness and Injury

By Butler Prather LLP on May 17, 2021

Anytime you go out to eat with your friends or family, the last thing that you expect is that someone will sustain an injury or illness. Unfortunately, there are times when the careless or negligent actions of restaurant owners or employees cause harm to patrons. Here, we want to discuss when restaurants can be held liable for illnesses or injuries sustained by their guests. What we will see is that these incidents usually fall under the theory of premises liability, which means restaurant owners and operators owe a duty of care to those who have a right to be at the restaurant.

Understanding the Responsibilities of Restaurant Owners and Operators

Any type of business owner or operator has a duty of care to any person who has the right to be on their premises. This includes restaurant owners and operators. This duty of care revolves around restaurant owners and operators taking the steps necessary to keep patrons safe. If restaurants fail to take the steps required to do so, they could be held liable if anybody sustains an injury or illness.

It can be argued that restaurant owners and operators have a heightened duty of care because these are areas where guests consume foods and beverages. Not only do restaurants have to ensure the safety of their premises, but they also have to ensure that the food is stored and prepared properly. This dual responsibility is critical to keep in mind. If a restaurant owner or operator fails to uphold their duty of care (if they breach their duty), then they could be held liable for any injuries or illnesses that occur.

In the restaurant setting, a breach of duty of care will look different depending on the type of injury or illness that has occurred. For the sake of simplicity, let us break down the ways that injuries and illnesses can occur into separate lists. First, let’s look at injuries that can occur due to hazardous situations on the premises of a restaurant:

  • Food or drinks that have spilled and caused a slip and fall hazard
  • Objects in pedestrian pathways that become tripping hazards
  • Poorly lit parking lots or dining rooms
  • Uneven pavement or walking surfaces outside or inside of the restaurant
  • Décor or displays that or unstable and could fall on a patron

We also want to examine injuries or illnesses that can occur directly related to eating or drinking that could be linked back to the careless or negligent actions of restaurant staff. This can include:

  • Burns caused by hot glass or plates
  • Injuries caused by chipped plates or glasses
  • Internal illnesses caused by contaminated foods for beverages
  • Internal illnesses caused by improperly stored or prepared foods or beverages

How Will Guests Recover Compensation in These Situations?

If you or somebody you care about has sustained an injury or become ill after dining at a restaurant in the state of Georgia, you may need to file a premises liability lawsuit against the restaurant owner or operator. These cases can become challenging, and you absolutely need to have an attorney by your side to help you get through this. An attorney can help injury or illness victims recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering damages, and more.

Posted in: Premises Liability

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