Restaurant Owner Liability

Grilling ChickenGoing out to a restaurant means you’re going to pay a little more than you normally would if you were dining at home, but that you’ll be treated with great service and possibly be introduced to a new dish. While you should rightfully expect the best, sometimes that’s not the case. Under certain circumstances, a restaurant owner may be liable to you for injuries you endure while dining out.

Improperly Cooked Food

Food can be cooked improperly if it is undercooked, scalding hot, or previously contaminated. Undercooked food can cause severe illnesses, especially to young children and the elderly. Food and beverages that are too hot can cause burns that lead to hospitalization. Contaminated foods can risk potentially deadly illnesses such as E. coli or Salmonella.

It is normal to expect chefs to know what they are doing and put your trust in them when you’re at a restaurant. Unfortunately, sometimes food is not handled properly. Restaurant inspections are not taken lightly and nevertheless, inspectors consistently find food violations at even the top-rated restaurants. Food violations have included:

  • Poor employee and/or kitchen sanitation
  • Food contamination
  • Improperly storing foods that are meant to be cooked at different temperatures together
  • Not cleaning built up grease, dust, and dirt on walls and countertops
  • Water not heating up to the required temperatures
  • Improperly storing silverware and drinking glasses
  • Not throwing out expired food
  • Storing food items at the wrong temperatures

Premise Liability

Restaurant owners are held responsible if they fail to maintain their restaurants’ premises. If you are injured because of a spill that should have been cleaned up or another hazard that shouldn’t have been there, you might be able to receive compensation. In tort liability, if you are lawfully at an owner’s place of business, you are considered to be benefiting the property owner and therefore will be considered an “invitee.” Invitee status means that property owners owe you a duty to reasonably inspect and maintain their premises to make sure that you are not harmed.

You could have a successful claim if an owner and/or his or her employees failed to clean up a spill on the floor causing you to slip, fall, and injure yourself. Owners and their employees need to keep an eye out for foreseeable accidents. It does not only stop there, as owners may be liable for poorly maintained parking lots, lighted areas, and furniture.

For Restaurant Owners

As a restaurant owner, you are responsible for your guests dining at your establishment. To avoid any potential lawsuits, you should not only check for potential violations, but also require your employees to inspect the premises while they are working. Furthermore, it will pay off to have someone at your restaurant dedicated to cleaning and inspections so that your kitchen, eating area, and restrooms are spotless. Not only will this reduce your chances of a lawsuit or violation, but you will also keep your guests happy, coming back, and you’ll receive great reviews in return.

Contact Us

If you were injured at a restaurant and you believe the restaurant owner was at fault, you may be able to receive compensation. The first step is to contact an attorney to discuss what happened as every case is different. Contact The O’Brien Law Firm today at (716) 907-7777 for a free initial consultation.