Meeting some friends at a pub or going to happy hour after work with some friends can be fun and relaxing. Unfortunately, many bars and restaurants focus more on profit than keeping their premises safe. When the lights go down on weekends or evenings, many bar owners and managers overserve customers, allow unruly behavior on their premises, and fail to clean up spilled alcohol.
If you or a loved one was hurt at a bar or restaurant in Philadelphia, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit. Even if you were intoxicated when the injury happened, unsafe conditions, slippery floors, and dangerous security staff are unreasonable risks, and the owner of the bar or restaurant may be held responsible for injuries you suffered. For a free consultation on your case, contact the Philadelphia bar and restaurant injury lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm today at (215) 709-6940.
Types of Accidents and Injuries at Restaurants in Philadelphia
Many types of injuries that could occur at a Philadelphia restaurant allow you to sue the at-fault parties – such as the restaurant itself – to seek compensation for the medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering related to the injuries. The specific cause of the accident changes how your case is filed and sometimes changes whom you should file the case against. The following are all common ways that people could be injured at restaurants, along with some information about whom to sue and how the case will work in court:
Slip and Fall or Trip and Fall Accidents
Many bars and restaurants in Philadelphia can become madhouses at night. However, this never relieves the owner or manager of the bar from their duty to keep the bar safe for guests and customers. Bar staff may be too focused on profits and sales to bother cleaning up spilled drinks – or worse – from their bar floors. If you are injured because you slipped and fell on a slippery bar floor, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit.
The areas inside and outside the restaurant should be safe for guests. If you slip and fall on an icy sidewalk before you even get in the building, the property owner should be responsible for the injuries you faced. Other slip and fall or trip and fall injuries inside the restaurant are clearly within the restaurant owner’s control and should have been prevented. This means that restaurant employees need to take care to avoid spills and slippery surfaces and that they need to quickly clean up those kinds of issues or put out caution signs to warn patrons of the dangers. If they fail to do so, the restaurant could be liable for slip and fall or trip and fall injuries.
Broken Glass and Other Hazards
If workers or patrons at a restaurant drop plates and glasses and the workers fail to clean up the broken bits, the restaurant could be held responsible for any injuries that result from this issue. It is up to the restaurant’s workers to make sure that the premises are safe, especially in restaurants where the lights are dim and dangers might not be obvious. If you step on broken glass or fall and cut yourself on dangerous shards of a broken plate, the restaurant owners might be liable for your injuries.
Food Poisoning and Foodborne Illness
If you are at a Philadelphia restaurant that is open to the public, it should be properly inspected, and the workers should be trained in food safety to prevent injuries and illness. Issues with cross-contamination, undercooked food, unclean cookware, pests, and spoiled food appear in dozens of TV shows about bars and restaurants, but you never expect these issues to affect the food you are actually eating. If you were made sick by a meal that contained a foodborne illness or bacteria like norovirus, salmonella, or E. coli, or if you suffered a simple case of food poisoning after a meal at a restaurant, you might be entitled to sue the restaurant for your injuries.
Foreign Objects in Food
If you bit down into a piece of food and discovered something that was not supposed to be there, you might be made sick from it, or you could have been seriously injured by the foreign object. Objects like hairs are often found in food at restaurants with hygiene issues, but larger or more dangerous objects like pieces of broken wood or metal from cleaning tools or cooking utensils could also fall inside the food. Prepackaged food from a food distributor could also have objects such as bits of wood or metal inside that could cause serious injury risk. In some cases, pests, bugs, or other objects could be found in food that was not stored properly, potentially leading to serious emotional distress or illness.
Allergic Reactions to Food
Restaurant goers with food allergies and dietary restrictions often need to be careful about what they eat, and restaurants should be willing to work with customers. If a restaurant advertises vegan or vegetarian options, these foods should properly exclude meat and other products or else diners could face adverse health issues or emotional distress. More seriously, diners with allergies or serious health conditions might not be able to consume certain foods, or they could suffer serious allergic reactions if the food was contaminated or improperly contained an ingredient that the restaurant was warned would be dangerous for the customer.
Assault and Battery
Although these issues are rare, you could also be injured by assault at a restaurant in Philadelphia. Assault by another patron could occur at a bar or restaurant if things get out of hand after a night of drinking. Additionally, waiters, bartenders, bouncers, and other staff members could allow their emotions to get out of hand after a long shift or a bad day, potentially leading them to injure or assault patrons or other workers. If you were the victim of assault or other intentional injuries at a restaurant, talk to a lawyer immediately. Many claims like this can be filed against the restaurant for assault by a patron or for negligent security at the establishment.
Suing a Bar or Restaurant for Injuries in Philadelphia, PA
In most personal injury cases, the plaintiff (the injured party) sues the defendant (the responsible party) on a theory of “negligence.” In a negligence case, the plaintiff claims the defendant owed them a duty, but failed to use the proper skill or care, leading to injuries. To succeed in a lawsuit like this, you not only need to prove that the injuries were ultimately the defendant’s fault, but also that they owed you a duty in the first place.
Many of the legal duties that extend to bar and restaurant owners are the same duties that extend to all property owners. Whether a building is part of a business or a residential property, most property owners are required to have safe premises and prevent harm to those inside. Especially when patrons and customers pay for services, the bar or restaurant may have other duties to fulfill on top of this.
For example, Philadelphia bars and restaurants may owe patrons some of the following duties:
- The duty to repair or warn of hidden dangers on their property,
- The duty to reasonably light staircases and dangerous paths,
- The duty to provide adequate security for patrons,
- The duty not to overserve guests,
- The duty to remove rowdy or dangerous customers from the premises,
- The duty to report medical emergencies,
- The duty to provide drinks and food that are safe to consume, and more.
If you suffered injuries because negligent servers, bartenders, or managers breached any of these duties, you may be able to succeed in a lawsuit against the restaurant or bar in Philadelphia.
Damages for Injuries at a Bar or Restaurant in Philadelphia
When suing for injury, you may be entitled to “damages” to pay for the harms you suffered. The first set of damages you may get is for medical expenses. If you were injured enough to need medical treatment, hospitalization, surgeries, medical imaging (e.g. X-rays or MRIs), physical therapy, or ongoing medical care, you may be able to recover these costs from the liable parties. Especially if you fell and suffered traumatic brain injury or other serious injuries, you may be entitled to substantial compensation for your medical bills.
If you were too injured to work or will be unable to return to work because of your injuries, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages. These can include past wages while you recovered, as well as wages you will miss in the future.
Lastly, you may be able to recover compensation for pain and suffering. This is direct compensation to cover your physical pain and mental suffering. While this is more difficult to calculate and has no clear price tag, you can still recover.
Can I Get Compensation for an Accident if I Was Drunk?
If you were drunk when you were injured, people may accuse you of responsibility for your own injuries. However, just because you were intoxicated does not mean that the bar or restaurant workers did not still contribute to your injuries. As long as you were less than 51% liable for your own injuries, PA law still allows you to recover damages. Moreover, if you were drunk because the establishment overserved you, they may even be partly to blame for your level of intoxication.
Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers for Bar and Restaurant Accidents
If you or a loved one was injured at a bar or restaurant in Philadelphia, talk to the Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm today. Our attorneys represent victims of premises liability injuries and other harms, and help them seek compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. For a free consultation on your case, contact our law offices today at (215) 709-6940.