Dining Out Dangers: What to Do if You are Injured in a Restaurant

By Jon Lewis on Apr 17 in Lewis & Feldman Blog.

Dining Out Dangers: What to Do if You are Injured in a Restaurant

Dining out can be a great experience. There are so many different options available. According to data from the National Restaurant Association, there are nearly 7,000 restaurants currently operating in Alabama alone. Unfortunately, accidents do happen at restaurants. If you or a loved one is hurt while dining out, it is imperative that you know what to do. 

At Lewis & Feldman, LLC, we have the skills, experience, and personal injury expertise to handle the full range of claims against restaurants, including premises liability cases and food poisoning cases. In this article, you will find an overview of the steps to take if you are injured while at a restaurant in Alabama. 

Step #1: Seek Immediate Medical Care for Your Injuries/Illness

Medical needs should always be a top priority. If you sustain an injury or fall ill in a restaurant in Alabama, it is imperative that you get the proper medical care. Do not wait to get yourself treated, and do not assume that your injury or illness is “too minor” to see a doctor. Some common issues that arise after incidents at restaurants—from head injuries to food-borne illnesses—can actually arise with a somewhat delayed onset. You may need medical care more than you initially recognize. Further, seeing a doctor is a required part of the personal injury claims process in Alabama. If you do not see a doctor, you will not have the medical records you need to bring a legal claim. 

Step #2: Document the Incident (Write Down What Happened and Secure Evidence)

Documentation is key to any personal injury claim—including a restaurant injury/illness claim. Along with other things, you should write down exactly what happened. Key details include  

the date, time, and any relevant details about the environment. If possible, take photos of the scene and your injuries. Beyond that, you should collect contact information from witnesses and request a copy of the restaurant’s accident report, if available. The more evidence that you have, the better positioned you will be to hold the restaurant legally liable for your injury or illness.  

Step #3: Notify the Restaurant That You Were Injured or Made Ill 

You should be sure to notify the restaurant that you were hurt or made ill on the premises. It is a best practice to proactively notify the business. When you do so, they should make an initial report on the incident. That being said, you do not have to give a full statement—or any questions—at this point in the process. If you were hurt in a chain restaurant, your matter may be forwarded to a corporate office. Your health, safety, and well-being always take priority. 

Step #4: Beware of Providing Any Statement to the Restaurant or Its Insurer

After an incident, the restaurant or its insurance company may contact you for a statement. Exercise caution. You should politely decline to provide detailed information or sign any documents until you have consulted with an experienced Alabama restaurant injury lawyer. These entities often aim to minimize their liability and may use your words against you. A seemingly simple comment could inadvertently undermine your claim. You have the right to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney before giving any statement to an insurance company. Always exercise this right. 

Step #5: Seek Professional Legal Representation

Do not take on the legal claims process alone. If you were injured or made ill at a restaurant, you should consult with an experienced Alabama personal injury attorney. Your lawyer will be able to review the case, answer your questions, and determine exactly what needs to be done to protect your rights and help you secure the best outcome. Your attorney can negotiate with insurance companies, navigate legal hurdles, and develop a strategy to maximize your compensation. 

Proving Negligence in a Restaurant Injury or Illness Claim in Alabama

For the most part, personal injury claims against restaurants in Alabama are based on negligence. Broadly defined, negligence is the failure to take due care. It means that the defendant—such as a restaurant—acted with carelessness, recklessness, or other disregard for safety that deviates from the standard of care in the industry. Some of the most notable examples of restaurant negligence that can contribute to injuries/illnesses include: 

  • Failure to conduct adequate maintenance; 
  • Uncleaned spills (slip and fall hazard); 
  • Faulty or broken seating or furniture; 
  • Poorly maintained equipment or appliances; 
  • Negligent security (assault and violence);
  • Use of contaminated or expired ingredients; and
  • Other unsafe food handling practices. 

Notably, most restaurant industry claims are brought on the grounds of premises liability. In Alabama, businesses and property owners—including restaurants—have a duty to keep their premises in reasonably safe condition for their guests. 

You May Be Entitled to Recover Compensation for Economic and Non-Economic Damages

Were you or your loved one hurt at a restaurant in Birmingham or elsewhere in Alabama? You have the right to seek compensation for the full value of your losses, including economic damages and non-economic losses. Unfortunately, restaurants—and their insurers—can make it challenging for victims to recover the full and fair financial support that they deserve. Depending on the specific nature and severity of your injuries/illness, you may be entitled to recover compensation for: 

  • Property loss; 
  • Emergency medical support; 
  • Hospital bills and other health costs; 
  • Long-term medical needs; 
  • Loss of wages and loss of future earnings; 
  • Pain and suffering and emotional impairment; 
  • Disability or disfigurement; and
  • Wrongful death. 

Contact Our Alabama Restaurant Injury Attorney for a Free Review of Your Case

At Lewis & Feldman, LLC, our Alabama personal injury lawyer handles the full range of restaurant injury claims, including premises liability cases and food poisoning cases. Hurt in a serious accident? We are here to help. Give us a phone call at 205-896-6410 or connect with our personal injury team online for a free, no-strings-attached case review. From our Birmingham law office, we handle restaurant injury claims throughout the surrounding area of Alabama. 

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