After a couple of years of big changes, patrons are returning to restaurants and bars in big numbers. But the risk of personal injury remains unless these establishments take precautions to assure the safety of their patrons and prevent these common lawsuits.
Slip and falls are the top cause of personal injury lawsuits against restaurants according to the National Restaurant Association.
Restaurants can prevent these accidents by having a written policy on cleaning up routine spills and dealing with other slippery surfaces. Floors and carpets should meet industry standards on friction and safety.
The second most common lawsuit involves injuries from fights among customers, especially when high alcohol consumption has aggravated the situation. A situation may become even more dangerous when a restaurant owner or manager asks a guest to leave when they get into an intense argument.
Fights may be prevented by not overserving guests because intoxication increases the risk of fights and injuries. Restaurants should also have policies governing when a fight may break out. It should include calling the police.
Policies and training are especially important to prevent arguments from escalating into fights. These typically involve dancefloors and other situations where a harmless brush can escalate into a fight.
Employees should escort guests outside if they are asked to leave to assure that another patron will not jump them.
Fights between customers and employees
These fights are another major cause of lawsuits. Restaurants can help prevent these lawsuits by having policies prohibiting employees from touching patrons even if they are involved in a fight. Staff should call the police if a guest refuses to leave.
Explicit policies and training should cover employees using force. Escalations must be prohibited.
Lawsuits involving food poisoning and foreign substances are less frequent but still occur. To avoid this, restaurants must have written policies and training on sanitation practices. Restaurants must comply with local health requirements.
Patrons who suffer injuries in these accidents may be entitled to compensation. Attorneys can assist them with gathering evidence from witnesses, cameras and other sources and pursue their cases in court and negotiations.