Whether you work in a restaurant setting or enjoy eating out on a frequent or occasional basis, your risk of slipping and falling while in a restaurant is substantial. In fact, according to CNA, which cites statistics from both the National Floor Safety Institute and the National Restaurant Association, over 1 million restaurant patrons and over 3 million employees sustain injuries in slip and fall accidents each year. Slip and falls are the biggest source of restaurants’ general liability claims, accounting for billions of dollars in lost revenue annually.
Slip and fall accidents occur in restaurants of all types and sizes, even those as established as BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse. Though eateries must take adequate measures to prevent slips and falls and protect patrons, accidents can and do happen every day. If you recently fell and sustained an injury in a slip and fall accident at BJ’s, consult with an attorney who has the experience and resources to go up against large corporations. Our team at Cellino Law can help you understand your rights, defend your interests and guide you toward the maximum monetary recovery.
Unique Factors That May Contribute to Slip and Fall Accidents at BJ’s
Restaurants provide the perfect breeding grounds for trip and fall hazards. Between crowded environments, high volumes of foot traffic, narrow walkways and waiters walking around with trays of food and drinks, the risks make it inevitable that a tripping hazard will develop at some point during a restaurant’s hours of operations. Some unique factors that commonly contribute to slip and fall incidences in restaurants are as follows:
- Drink spills
- Food spills
- Recently mopped, polished or waxed floors
- Uneven flooring
- Unsecured mats, rugs and carpets
- Dim lighting
- Wet floors from patrons’ shoes
- Water leaks or plumbing issues in the restrooms
- Behind-the-bar spills
- Electrical cords or cables that run across the floors
- Trash or utensils left on the floor
- Patrons’ feet sticking out beyond their seating area due to tight spaces
Accidents that occur at BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse do not necessarily have to occur inside for you to seek compensation. Many establishments own the property surrounding the building. As such, the business owners are responsible for maintaining everything from sidewalks to hand railings to landscaping. If an outdoor hazard, such as an icy sidewalk or loose stair railing, causes you to fall and injure yourself, you may still have a claim against the establishment.
Most Trip and Fall Hazards Are Avoidable
If you peruse the list of hazards carefully, you may notice that each of the items listed has one thing in common, and that is their preventability. Through strict housekeeping and proper training, restaurant owners can protect patrons and employees alike. Failure to take adequate measures to prevent slips and falls may result in fines, citations and legal troubles. Below are a few easy prevention measures restaurants can take.
Properly Train Employees
Employees are the people who ultimately run a restaurant. If employees do not have proper training in tasks such as tray carrying, floor maintenance and spill cleanup, restaurants cannot realistically prevent accidents from happening. Accident prevention begins with robust employee training in everything from job duties to safety protocol.
Clean Spills Immediately
Understandably, employees and managers cannot intuitively know about every spill. However, when another employee or a patron brings a spill to an employee’s attention, or when an employee notices one him or herself, that employee should take steps to eliminate the hazard right away. Failure to do so, or failure to warn patrons and other employees of the hazard, could put the restaurant at risk for assuming liability for any damages the spill causes.
Create and Enforce a Mopping Schedule
Restaurants should have strict mopping schedules in place for all aspects of the establishment, including the dining room, kitchen, bathrooms and behind-the bar areas. A mopping schedule can prevent the buildup of sticky, greasy and otherwise hazardous materials.
Mark Wet Areas
When an employee cannot mop up a spill or wet area right away, he or she should mark it with a wet floor sign. Employees should do the same with recently mopped floors.
Conduct Regular Inspections
Before opening each day or night, BJ’s Restaurant managers or employees should conduct thorough inspections to identify potential slipping or tripping hazards. Potential hazards include loose carpets, sticky spots, poor lighting, plumping leaks and weather conditions.
A Restaurant Owner’s Duty to Patrons and Employees
The duty of care that a property or business owner owes an individual depends on how the law classifies said individual. Premises liability law recognizes three classes of visitors:
In all likelihood, if you sustained an injury at a BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, you entered the property as an invitee.
Business Owners’ Legal Duty To Protect Invitees
Property owners — whether they operate a business or not — owe the highest level of care to invitees. An invitee is a person whom a property owner invites onto his or her property for business purposes, such as to dine. The law also classifies job applicants as invitees, regardless of whether a restaurant has a sign advertising for help.
Per premises liability law, property owners have a responsibility to ensure invitees are safe from any and all dangers, known or yet-to-be-discovered. Under this standard, property owners must not only correct and repair known dangers but also, they must reasonably inspect for, identify and fix unknown/non-visible hazards in all areas to which invitees have access. The term “reasonable” does not have a legal definition. Rather, in a premises liability case, the courts or deciding parties would consider what any person of ordinary intelligence and judgment would do in a similar circumstance.
Proving Negligence Is Key to Your Recovery
Establishing a slip and fall case against BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse boils down to your ability to prove that the restaurant owners and/or its employees acted negligently and that said negligence caused the accident that resulted in your injuries. Per the Legal Information Institute, negligence has four elements:
- Duty: The restaurant has a duty to keep you safe by creating a safe area for you to socialize and dine. In your case, you were likely an invitee, meaning BJ’s owed you the highest duty of care.
- Breach of Duty: The establishment breached its duty in some way, such as by failing to properly train its employees.
- Causation: The breach of duty directly caused the accident that caused your injuries.
- Damages: You sustained injuries in the accident along with additional losses, such as lost wages and medical expenses.
Establishing these elements is easier said than done, which is why you may want to retain the help of an experienced slip and fall lawyer.
Types of Compensation You May Be Able To Recover
If your slip and fall claim against BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse is successful, you may be able to recover compensation for various damages. Those include but are not limited to the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Future medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death
Recovering compensation for your slip and fall accident at BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse may be key to your recovery. However, BJ’s is a large corporation with substantial resources on its side. For this reason alone, you do not want to attempt to file and negotiate a claim without legal help of your own. For the skilled and aggressive representation you need, contact Cellino Law today.
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