Restaurant Slip and Fall

Restaurant Premises Liability Explained Simply by an Experienced Kansas City Slip and Fall Lawyer

Restaurants have a legal obligation to maintain reasonably safe environments for their patrons. When they fail to uphold this responsibility, injured parties have the right to seek financial relief based on premises liability laws. If you’ve suffered a slip and fall accident in Kansas City, you may be entitled to compensation, even if your injury seems minor. 

Whether you’re enjoying a fast food burger or dining in a high-end steakhouse, restaurant owners owe you the same duty of care. Call the Kansas City slip and fall lawyers at Foster Wallace to assert your legal rights and seek the justice you need and deserve to recover fully from your injuries. 

Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents in Restaurants

Restaurants and bars are among the most common locations for slip and fall accidents. Many people, including both customers and staff members, are constantly on the move. The restaurant setting is also rife with potential hazards that could result in serious injury. Negligent restaurant owners and management may overlook or dismiss these dangers, increasing the risk of someone getting hurt.

Common causes of slip and fall accidents in restaurants and other food service places include the following:

  • Wet and slippery floors are especially common near kitchens and bathrooms. Spilled food, drinks, and recently mopped areas can create slick surfaces where patrons may slip and fall. 
  • Grease spills can continue to be slippery if they are not cleaned properly. 
  • Uneven surfaces, such as cracked tiles or unsecured rugs, can create tripping hazards. A seemingly small stumble can lead to serious injury. 
  • Obstructions and clutter like ingredient boxes and spare furniture left in walkways are also potentially hazardous. 
  • Poor or inadequate lighting can cause people to misstep as they cannot see possible hazards, leading them to trip or slip and fall. 
  • Slippery or damaged stairs, especially when handrails are absent or inadequate, are especially dangerous as victims can suffer serious injury falling down a flight of stairs. 
  • Weather hazards, like rain and snow tracked in from the outside to entry areas and walkways, can increase the risk of possible slip and fall accidents.
  • Parking lot accidents can be the legal responsibility of restaurant owners in some cases, as the parking lot may be part of their premises. Oil slicks and cracked pavement can result in injuries. 

Examples of Potential Slip and Fall Injuries

The severity of restaurant slip and fall injuries can vary considerably, from little more than a bruised ego to lifelong mobility challenges. Older adults are at greater risk for more serious injury, but anyone who slips and falls can suffer dire consequences. Even if someone is at greater risk of injury, they are equally eligible to seek appropriate compensation for their injuries. 

Hip Fractures

Among the most common and most serious possible fractures from a slip and fall accident are hip fractures. The instability of the slip can tear muscle tissue. The impact of the fall can break the bones making up the hip joint. Many seniors hospitalized for hip fractures suffer permanent damage.

Other Broken Bones and Dislocations

Depending on how the victim falls after they slip, they may fracture other bones or dislocate a joint. Fractures may be partial or complete. They may suffer broken arms or fingers from bracing for the fall. Broken tailbones, legs, and knees are also common, as are dislocated shoulders and hips. 

Neck and Spine Injuries

The neck and spine are also high-risk locations for slip and fall injuries. Victims may suffer herniated discs, spinal cord damage, and broken necks from slipping and falling. Notably, the restaurant may still be liable for damages, even if they place a wet floor sign at the location of a spill. 

Soft Tissue and Nerve Damage

Along with broken bones, victims may also suffer from a variety of soft tissue and nerve damage. Bruises and lacerations may be visibly apparent right away, while further testing may be needed to diagnose torn ligaments, sprained ankles, and nerve damage. Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is common, while more extreme cases can even lead to temporary or permanent paralysis. 

Traumatic Brain Injury

Open and closed head injuries can result from restaurant slip and fall accidents. Traumatic brain injuries can range from mild concussions to severe and permanent brain damage. These can have long-term consequences for the victim’s physical, mental, and emotional health, as well as their overall quality of life. 

Wrongful Death

The most tragic potential result of a slip and fall accident is a wrongful death. As someone slips on a wet floor in a restaurant restroom, they may strike their head on a hard surface like a sink or countertop. They may die immediately or succumb to their fatal injuries later on. In either case, their heirs may have the legal right to seek restitution. 

Damages You May Recover in a Personal Injury Claim

The possible damages you may recover when you fall on someone else’s property are similar to other personal injury claims. The fact that the case arises from premises liability is secondary. Examples of recoverable costs and expenses include the following:

  • Emergency medical care, like hospitalization and ambulance bills
  • Ongoing rehabilitation costs, like physical therapy and medication
  • Current lost wages from work missed due to the injury
  • Loss of future income from anticipated work absences
  • Long-term diminished earning potential
  • Permanent disfigurement and scarring
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma and distress
  • Property damage, like broken watches or eyeglasses
  • Punitive damages in exceptional cases
  • Funeral and burial costs in wrongful death claims

The amount of compensation you can expect to receive in a settlement depends on many factors. One of our clients suffered a broken arm after slipping on a spilled drink that had not been cleaned up properly. The insurance company initially denied liability before offering $30,000 for her injuries. Foster Wallace stepped in to advocate for her rights, helping to nearly triple it to a final settlement amount of $80,000

The Revised Statutes of Missouri Section 516.120 outlines the time limit to file a personal injury case in Kansas City. The standard statute of limitations is five years. If you do not file a slip and fall lawsuit within five years, you may waive your claim seeking damages for your injury. 

What to Do if You’re Hurt in a Restaurant Slip and Fall Accident

When you suffer a slip and fall injury due to a restaurant's negligence, it’s important to take steps to protect your legal rights to fair compensation. 

Get Medical Attention 

If you’ve been seriously hurt in a slip and fall, call 911 to get an ambulance to the restaurant. The paramedics can assess your injuries and take you to the hospital for emergency care. Seeking prompt medical care strengthens the seriousness of your injury claim. Follow up with your family doctor for a full evaluation. Continue with rehabilitation plans to treat your injuries. 

Collect Evidence

If it is reasonable to do so, take photos and videos of the accident scene. Pay close attention to the hazards that caused the slip and fall accident, like drink spillage or walkway obstructions. Get the names and contact information of any witnesses, like other customers and staff on duty. Compelling evidence is key to building a strong slip and fall personal injury claim. 

Keep Relevant Documents

Retain copies of any documentation that may be pertinent to your case. This includes any incident reports filed with the restaurant, medical reports and bills, pay stubs showing lost wages, and receipts for physical therapy and pain medication. 

Consult With a Kansas City Slip and Fall Lawyer

To gain a better understanding of how slip and fall cases work in Missouri, book a free consultation with Foster Wallace. Our skilled attorneys will explain your options and guide you through the process of filing a personal injury claim to recover your losses. 

Importance of Hiring a Missouri Personal Injury Lawyer

It’s often not a fair fight when individual victims go up against large insurance companies for personal injury claims. Slip and fall accidents at restaurants are no exception. When seeking the justice and fair compensation you deserve, the skill and experience of our Kansas City attorneys can help level the playing field. We will fight relentlessly for your legal right to justice.

The benefits of hiring a Kansas City slip and fall lawyer include:

  • Identifying liable parties, including staff, management, restaurant parent companies, building owners, and equipment suppliers
  • Advising you on legal options and rights
  • Completing and filing all required paperwork accurately and on time
  • Guide you toward how to get the medical care and treatment you need
  • Estimating the fair maximum value of your personal injury claim
  • Gathering evidence of slip and fall negligence 
  • Procuring the services of expert witnesses to support your claim
  • Developing a strong argument for your personal injury case
  • Advocating on your behalf in all communications with property insurance adjusters and defense attorneys 
  • Negotiating settlements to help maximize your payout amount
  • Answer any questions you may have along the way