You’ve just finished enjoying a meal at your favorite restaurant, and on your way out, you slip and fall, injuring yourself. Can you sue for compensation? Depending on the circumstances of your fall the law allows you to sue the restaurant or liable party. The restaurant owes you a duty of care whenever you are on its premises under a legal concept known as premise liability.
According to the National Floor Safety Institute(NFSI), slip-and-fall accidents are quite common, with millions of cases reported annually. Causes may include wet or oily floors, unsecured extension cords/rags, uneven flooring, and poor lighting.
When the restaurant owner fails to provide a safe environment for customers, it’s considered negligence. If you are injured from a slip-and-fall accident, you could sue the restaurant and claim damages arising from your injuries.
How to Prove Liability?
Liability in slip-and-fall cases depends on several factors. Who owns or controls the property where the accident occurred? What caused the slip-and-fall? Were there enough measures taken to mitigate the accident? Who was at fault?
For the restaurant to be held liable, you have to prove their negligence led to the slip-and-fall accident. There are three elements involved;
- The restaurant owes you a duty of care at the time you were on its premises.
- The restaurant breached their duty of care through an act of negligence. You must prove the restaurant was aware of the risk and did not take action to protect you from the dangerous situation. This may include warning signs.
- You suffered harm owing to the breach. Evidence of injuries is required to pursue compensation. Medical records and bills can help you prove the extent of your injuries.
After liability is proven, you are entitled to some form of compensation, which leads us to our next step.
Calculating the Value of Your Slip-and-Fall Claim
Compensation is monetary, and several factors come into play when arriving at a settlement. Damages are not just limited to the severity of your injuries.
Medical bills (both present and future), lost income or earning capacity, as well as incidental expenses arising due to the incident are quantifiable. However, non-economic damages like pain and suffering are not so straightforward and you might be better off with a personal injury lawyer by your side.
Ultimately, the circumstances of your case will depend on personal attributes like age and health at the time of the accident.
Here’s How You Should Go About it
Your best bet is to get in touch with a qualified personal injury lawyer as soon as you can. Without an attorney, it’s possible to make mistakes that will affect your case, like divulging some details on social media or signing away your rights unknowingly. An attorney will keep you in line and maximize your chances of a decent settlement package.
Remember to document your injuries and the events leading up to the slip-and-fall accident. Make an official report to the restaurant’s management or the police if they are involved, and maintain records such as medical bills, days you’ve been off work. All this information will come in handy when building your case, arriving at your settlement claim, and holding the restaurant liable.
There is also a statute of limitation beyond which you cannot sue for a slip-and-fall. This duration depends on the state in which the accident occurred, which is why it’s important to get in touch with an experienced lawyer.