Fast food restaurants, just like any restaurant, have a number of potential fall risks, and seniors and small children are particularly vulnerable. Management and employees have a responsibility to keep restaurants clean and orderly to minimize the risk as much as possible. If you sustained an injury from a slip and fall incident at an Arby’s restaurant in New York, you may be able to recover compensation for your losses.
How Could a Slip and Fall Accident Happen at Arby’s?
Fast food restaurants actually have more potential hazards than most businesses because of the messy nature of working with food and because the atmosphere is fast-paced. Some common ways that people slip and fall in an Arby’s are:
- Trip over debris left on the floor or damaged surfaces in the parking lot
- Slip on a spill near the soda dispenser
- Slip on water or trip over a loose tile in the bathroom
- Trip over an upturned rug or mat
- Slide on dropped food
This list is not comprehensive, and not everyone who stumbles and falls in a fast food restaurant is eligible for compensation.
Who Is Accountable in a Slip and Fall Accident in New York?
If you fall in an Arby’s and sustain an injury, you may decide to file a lawsuit against the company. It is then up to you, the plaintiff, to prove that the company or employees bear responsibility for your injury. This requires proof of liability or negligence.
What You Need to Prove It
To prove liability or negligence, you have to show that the property owner or manager should have known about the dangerous condition because any reasonable person would know and warn customers in a similar situation. You may also attempt to prove that the property owner, manager, or employee caused the dangerous condition and should have reasonably assumed that someone would slip and fall.
The standard for reasonableness is based on how the average, prudent person would handle the situation. Some other factors that you should consider when trying to figure out if the defendant was negligent are:
- How was the lighting and visibility in the area where you experienced the fall?
- Did the dangerous condition or obstacle exist long enough that the property owner had more than enough time to take action and remove it?
- Was any warning signage or barrier to prevent access present that could make the dangerous condition less dangerous?
- Did the property owner, manager, or employees have a policy that required a routine check of the property for potential hazards? If they did, is there a log to show that these requirements were met?
- Did the property owner or manager have a reasonable excuse for creating the hazard? If they did, is there justification for how long it was there?
Proving liability in a slip and fall case is sometimes difficult. The first reaction of the property owner is usually to argue that you are either fully or partially responsible for the incident. The burden to prove otherwise is yours.
What Other Laws Govern Slip and Fall Accidents in New York?
All states have laws that govern slip and fall personal injury lawsuits. These laws are important to understand because they may affect the outcome of your case. If you decide to file a lawsuit in the New York civil court system, the statute of limitations and rule of comparative negligence apply.
Statute of Limitations
The amount of time you have to file a lawsuit is called the statute of limitations. New York Civil Practice Laws & Rules Section 214 states that anyone injured in a slip and fall incident has three years to file a lawsuit in civil court. The time limit starts on the date of the incident, and a lawsuit filed after the three-year deadline will result in a dismissal. The same law applies if you plan to file a claim for damage done to personal property.
As previously stated, the common response from the property owner is to argue that you share blame for the accident. Some potential arguments from the property owner include:
- The hazard that caused you to fall was obvious and you should have noticed it.
- You were in an area of the property restricted to customers.
- Your footwear was inappropriate or unsafe.
- You fell because you weren’t paying attention to where you were walking. You may have been on your phone or talking to someone with you.
- The dangerous condition had signage or partitioning to warn you.
Most of these arguments are easily defended with visual evidence, such as surveillance video footage.
If you are found partially responsible, the rule of comparative negligence applies. Every state follows either pure or modified comparative negligence rules, and New York is a pure comparative negligence state. Under this law, the amount of responsibility that you bear for the accident equals the percentage deducted from the awarded compensation. If your award amounts to $20,000 and you are found 10% responsible for the accident, the court will deduct $2,000 from the award and give you $18,000. Unlike modified comparative negligence, which states that you are not eligible for compensation if you bear more than half of the responsibility, pure comparative negligence states that you are eligible for compensation even if you are more than 50% responsible.
What Should You Do If You Slip and Fall in an Arby’s Restaurant?
In the event of a slip and fall accident, there are a few things that you should do:
- Seek medical attention right away for a serious injury. Waiting too long could be detrimental to your health and case. If you need to, call emergency services as soon as possible.
- Figure out what caused your accident. If you slipped on a substance, identify that substance when possible.
- Get the names and contact information of anyone in the vicinity that witnessed the incident or at least saw the condition that caused the incident.
- Document everything that you can. Take photos of the area and write down everything that happened as soon as you can before you forget details. Take down the names and titles of any employees that were present and spoke to you.
- If you did not call emergency services, seek medical attention by going to the emergency room or scheduling an appointment with your primary care physician.
The final step is to contact an attorney and explain the circumstances surrounding your case.
Why Should You Talk to a Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer?
There are several ways that a personal injury attorney may help you. He or she will:
- Prepare your case for trial if necessary and argue for you in court
- Identify all the possible sources for compensation available to you.
- Begin an independent investigation of the incident and consult with experts when necessary
- Negotiate a settlement for you to avoid going to court
Most personal injury attorneys work on contingency. This means that your attorney will not request payment until you receive an award.
Choosing the right attorney for your case is an important decision. Cellino Law offers decades of experience in personal injury. If you suffered an injury in a slip and fall at Arby’s, contact Cellino Law for a free case evaluation. Your case will receive the personal attention that it deserves.