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Restaurant Accident Claims

Restaurant Accident Claims

Restaurant accident claims enable you to recover compensation for injuries you have sustained in an accident in a restaurant which could have been prevented with due care and attention. Not all restaurant accidents result in an injury for which you may be able to make a claim for compensation and, if you have been primarily to blame for the accident occurring, you may not be eligible for restaurant accident compensation. Therefore, whereas this site provides helpful information regarding restaurant accident claims in the UK, it is always in your best interests to discuss the circumstances of your accident in a restaurant with a solicitor before proceeding with a claim.

Causes of Restaurant Accidents

The list of why an accident may occur in a restaurant is extensive. Slips on food or drinks spilled on the floor, trips over poorly maintained carpets or car park surfaces, falls due to poorly lit passageways and injuries which are sustained due to cracked glassware or furniture which is in an unsafe condition are the leading reasons for restaurant accident claims, but food poisoning and accidents which cause injuries to restaurant staff should also not be forgotten.

The important consideration regarding restaurant accident claims is that you will only be eligible to claim restaurant accident compensation if it can be proven that your accident occurred due to a hazard which should have been identified and repaired, replaced or removed within a reasonable amount of time – the word “reasonable” being exceptionally important, as restaurants do not have an “absolute duty of care” to provide clients with a safe environment in which to eat, drink and be entertained.

Restaurants Accidents and the Duty of Care

Whereas there are many health and safety regulations that a restaurateur has to adhere to and maintain when operating a restaurant, he or she has to be in breach of their “duty of care” before you will be eligible to make restaurant accident claims for compensation. A duty of care exists to protect clients and staff from the risk of injury wherever possible, but does not extend to unforeseeable or unpreventable accidents.

Therefore, if you were to slip on a drink which had been spilled on the floor by the customer immediately in front of you at the restaurant bar, and staff had not had a “reasonable” amount of time to identify that a hazard existed and clean the floor, you would not be justified in making a compensation claim for a restaurant accident. However, if the previous customer had been served at the bar some fifteen minutes earlier, that would be a different matter; but there is a grey period between the two in which restaurant accident claims can become complicated.

Supporting Restaurant Accident Claims

Collecting evidence in support of restaurant accident claims can be equally as complicated – particularly if you are so badly injured that a prolonged stay in hospital is required. It is not often that seriously injured restaurant clients have the presence of mind to take photographs of the accident scene or collect the contact details of other diners to act as witnesses to an accident. Broken glasses and faulty chairs are quickly disposed of to prevent an accident occurring to another client of the restaurant, and leftovers of contaminated food may have been thrown out before the symptoms of food poisoning have started to manifest.

In many claims for restaurant accident compensation, the testimony of the people you were dining with can be crucial to the success of your claim. Staff who may have assisted you – and sometimes the restaurateur themselves – may be willing to acknowledge the restaurant´s liability for your injuries, but it is the restaurant´s public liability insurers that you prove negligence to. Depending on the nature and severity of your injuries, an insurance company may be prepared to offer a settlement of restaurant accident compensation as opposed to the potential costs of defending a court action against their client. But, even if you are made such an offer, it could still be in your best interests to discuss the circumstances of your accident in a restaurant with a solicitor before accepting an insurance company´s offer.

Seeking Legal Advice after a Restaurant Accident

Prior to seeking any legal advice after a restaurant accident, you should always have your injuries examined in a hospital or by your family doctor. An official record of the injuries you sustained in the restaurant accident and the treatment you received should appear in your medical history to prove that an injury has occurred. If you relied on first aid at the restaurant or tended to your injuries yourself on your return home, there will be no record that the accident in the restaurant resulted in an injury and you will be unable to make restaurant accident claims.

Once you have received professional medical treatment, you should speak with a solicitor about the circumstances of your restaurant accident and any evidence that you may have already collected in support of your claim. A solicitor will assess whether you have a restaurant accident claim for compensation which is worth your while to pursue and – if you have already been approached by the restaurant´s insurers – advise you whether an offer of compensation which has been made to you is appropriate. Most solicitors will offer an initial free assessment of your restaurant accident without any obligation to proceed with a claim for compensation and in complete confidentiality.