You can sue a restaurant for slip and fall if their negligence caused your injury. The restaurant is not automatically responsible for your damages just because you fell on their premises. Restaurants must, however, pay the damages of people who suffer harm due to the company’s carelessness. Call the team of personal injury lawyers at S. Burke Law today at 404-842-7838 to discuss your legal options if you are thinking about suing a restaurant for slip and fall.
The Restaurant’s Duty of Care Under Premises Liability
The restaurant’s legal duty of care will depend on why the injured person came onto the property. For example:
Invitee. An invitee is someone the landowner or tenant invited onto the property, expressly or by implication, for any lawful purpose. For instance, if you went to the restaurant to have a drink or eat a meal, you are an invitee.
Georgia law requires that the landowner or tenant exercise ordinary care to keep the property and approaches (like sidewalks) safe for invitees.
Licensee. A licensee comes onto the property strictly for his own benefit, and not to transact business with the landowner or tenant. For example, if you went into a fast food restaurant to use the toilet but did not buy any food or beverages, you are a licensee.
Under Georgia law, the restaurant does not have to keep the premises safe for invitees. The landowner or tenant simply must not cause willful or wanton injury.
Trespasser. A trespasser enters the property without the invitation or consent of the landowner or tenant. Someone who is on the premises illegally is a trespasser.
The landowner or tenant has no duty of care toward the trespasser. Georgia law does not, however, allow the owner or tenant to cause intentional harm to the trespasser. In addition, the owner and tenant are not permitted to “booby trap” the premises. For example, if you are trespassing on property and you slip and fall, sustaining injury because the owner or tenant poured a slick substance on the ground to make trespassers fall, they are liable for your injuries.
The Three Elements of Negligence for a Slip and Fall in a Restaurant
We must prove three things to hold the restaurant liable for negligence when suing a restaurant for a slip and fall accident:
- The restaurant must have owed you a duty of care. The level of care the company owed you depends on why you were on the property (invitee, licensee, or trespasser).
- The restaurant failed to meet the duty of care appropriate for your status on the property (negligence).
- You suffered measurable harm because of the restaurant’s negligence.
In restaurants, the most common restaurant scenario that gives rise to a slip and fall claim is when:
- There was a dangerous condition (slippery or slick walking surface) in the restaurant or on the approaches (sidewalks).
- The restaurant knew or should have known about the hazard.
- The restaurant did not take action to repair or post sufficient warnings about the situation before someone got hurt.
Who Can You Sue If You Slip and Fall at a Restaurant
Sometimes the same person or corporation that operates the restaurant also owns the property, but that is not always the case. For example, if the restaurant is in a shopping center or other multi-unit commercial development, the restaurant business might lease the premises from the landowner.
Depending on the facts of your case, both the restaurant operator and the property owner might have legal liability for your injuries. You do not have to investigate this issue, however. We explore the possibility of multiple defendants for our clients.
What Happens If You Were Also Negligent
Georgia follows the rule of comparative fault when the injured person was partly at fault. The law will apportion fault among all the negligent parties, then subtract money from the plaintiff’s damages award in proportion to his amount of fault. Let’s say that a server spilled some liquid on the floor after clearing a table and went to get a mop, but did not block off the area. Before she got back with the mop, a customer who was a little tipsy from too many glasses of wine slipped and fell on the spill.
The judge might find the restaurant 80 percent at fault and the injured person 20 percent negligent. If the injury damages were $50,000, the plaintiff could receive $40,000 after the deduction for his negligence.
How to Get Legal Help for Your Slip and Fall in a Restaurant
You do not have to sort out whether you were an invitee, licensee, or trespasser, or what duty of care the landowner or restaurant owed you. Call S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838 and set up a free consultation with us about whether you have a valid case if you want to sue a restaurant for slip and fall.
We will discuss your injury claim with you. There is no obligation, and we do not charge legal fees until you receive compensation.