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A great restaurant can get your meal just right. And yet, a million things could go wrong. We're not saying that restaurants are inherently dangerous places, but injuries can happen everywhere and they can happen with great variety in restaurants.
Here are five common injuries sustained in restaurants and whether you can sue for them:
Obviously, restaurant liability often centers on the food. And food poisoning and food contamination lawsuits are too numerous to count. The difficulty with food poisoning lawsuits is proving that it was that particular restaurant's food (and not some other source) that made you sick.
In extreme situations, food poisoning can be fatal, in which case your standard negligence claim becomes a wrongful death lawsuit. Generally, wrongful death claims are limited to family members of the deceased -- in some states only spouses and children -- and damages like medical and funeral expenses and loss of companionship can be difficult to calculate.
Restaurants are also responsible for maintaining clean and safe space for patrons. Slippery floors or bathrooms, unlit hallways, or crowded dining areas can all be hazards to customers, and restaurants can be liable for a slip and fall on their premises.
Some restaurants are also bars, or serve alcohol with their food. And where the booze flows, bar fights often follow. While you can absolutely sue someone for beating you up, under so-called dram shop laws establishments that serve alcohol can be liable if they over-serve patrons and it results in injuries.
Not everyone injured in a restaurant is a customer. Between a busy kitchen and hectic dining area, restaurant employees are bound to get hurt as well. The restaurant should carry workers' compensation insurance to cover such injuries, but if not, or if the restaurant refuses your workers' comp claim, you may be entitled to sue for on-the-job injuries.
Any injury lawsuit can be complicated, from proving fault to proving the injury. If you're thinking of suing a restaurant, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney about your claim.