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Who's Liable in Restaurant Slip and Fall Injuries?

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A person injured in a restaurant slip and fall accident can collect damages fom the restaurant only if negligence and damages can be proven. A slip and fall attorney often sees injuries that result from spills in restaurants, but that doesn't mean that the restaurant is liable.

Restaurant Liability

Restaurants have the responsibility to provide a safe environment for their patrons, employees and guests. If injuries occur inside the restaurant or outside on the premises, restaurant owners can be held responsible for damages. However, the injured person must first prove that the restaurant created the hazard, knew of the hazard and did not fix it or provide proper warning, or should have known of the hazard. If an injury occurs as the result of a food or beverage spill, the time between the spill and the cleanup may prove important. The longer the spill remains on the floor without proper cleanup, the more likely the restaurant will be held liable for negligence.

Determining blame in a slip and fall case can be complicated without a slip and fall attorney who knows premises liability laws. In obvious cases of negligence, the restaurant may clearly be at fault, but according to premises liability law, the customer, or "invitee" also has a responsibility to protect himself/herself against possible injury. For example, if a stairway leads to the restaurant's bar or lounge area, and a sign is clearly posted telling patrons to "be careful and watch their step", the restaurant would not likely be liable for slip and fall injuries that occur on that stairway.

Restaurant Slip and Fall Accidents

Wet flooring surfaces caused by spills account for approximately 55 percent of restaurant slip and fall accidents. Other accidents and injuries are commonly caused by:

  • Slick floors due to mopping or waxing
  • Loose or uneven floorboards
  • Torn, frayed or loose carpeting
  • Uneven pavement on sidewalks and walkways
  • Damaged surfaces and uneven pavement in parking lots
  • Inadequate lighting


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