Restaurant Accident Claims
Enjoying a meal in a restaurant is a pleasure embraced by many, and the law protects consumers by ensuring that all establishments must meet health and safety guidelines. Restaurant owners and staff have a duty of care to all visitors, and this means that there should be no unreasonable risk of harm. Restaurants who breach this responsibility may be liable for claims for compensation from you if you have suffered an illness or injury as a result of their negligence.
The law sets out the ways in which a restaurant must operate in order to ensure that they are safe environments for both visitors and employees. The specific legislation that governs this area with regards to visitors is the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957, and this details the duty of care that restaurant occupiers have to the public and customers.
If the management of a restaurant fails to observe their duty to the safety of the premises, they may be liable for a personal injury compensation claim. Some of the most common causes of injuries sustained in a restaurant include:
- Trips and falls due to wet floors or obstacles
- Spilt hot food and beverages
- Food poisoning
- Unsafe premises and facilities
- Burn injuries
- Falls caused by poor lighting, badly fitted flooring or staircases that have not been maintained properly
- Car park accidents caused by badly maintained areas, slippery surfaces or neglected grounds.
Restaurant Inflicted Illness
The standard of hygiene and the methods of storage, preparation and service can be the cause of illnesses in a restaurant. If the legal guidelines of food management are not followed correctly, food poisoning can quickly occur and depending upon the severity of the poisoning and the health of the victim, the consequences can be severe.
The Food Safety Act 1990 sets out the laws that restaurants must follow with regards to the ways in which food should be handled, stored and prepared. The legislation serves to protect you by detailing the risks of food contamination and preparation and by establishing the practices that all restaurants must adopt relating to hygiene and safety. Similar legislation that is appropriate in restaurant management and practice includes the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006 which helps to detail the roles of various members of staff in a restaurant and communicates the potential risks of certain food groups and possible allergens.
Making a Restaurant Accident Claim
The initial step that should be taken following an accident or injury in a restaurant is a recording of the event in the accident book of the premises. Details should be taken by the management and recorded to comply with their legal obligations. This record will be requested by your solicitor and used as evidence during the negotiations for compensation at a later date. It is usually possible for you to make a claim even if the event was not recorded, though the record and report to management serve as valuable evidence for a future claim.
Your solicitor will request a detailed account of the accident from you. This will include the time, date, location and circumstances of the incident. To strengthen your claim, as much evidence as possible should be gathered, including medical reports, treatment receipts, photographs of any cause of the injury or illness where possible and witness statements if available. The greater the amount of evidence available, the stronger your case will be and the more likely you are of making a successful claim.
Making a Claim for Restaurant Induced illness
For you to make a successful case against a restaurant relating to an illness that was suffered because of a breach of the duty of care owed to you, proof must be presented that there was a fault on the part of the defendant (the restaurant).
It can be difficult to prove that an illness such as food poisoning was caused by a restaurant, as there may be several possible sources of the illness. Hospital investigations may help to prove the cause of the food poisoning or infection, and assessments of the hygiene levels in the restaurant can help to confirm the cause of the illness. If more than one person has suffered the same illness after eating at the restaurant, this too can help to establish the root cause of the problem.
Allergic reactions usually present themselves quickly and so in many cases, a victim who has suffered from an allergy will know that the food from the restaurant was the cause. Restaurants who contaminated dishes with ingredients such as nuts or who do not communicate the potential risk of contamination may be found to have been negligent in their duty of care.
Do I Have a Valid Claim?
To find out if you have a valid claim for compensation, contact our team of experienced personal injury lawyers today for a free case assessment. You can find out within a matter of minutes if you are eligible to pursue a claim, and can also ask any questions you may have about the process or the strength of your claim.