You can expect restaurant injury settlements to compensate you for your legal damages. These are all of the losses that you have sustained from the incident. They can be calculated using a settlement formula.
Generally, restaurant accidents rely on premises liability. A personal injury lawyer can help guide you through the settlement process, which is similar to a long negotiation.
What are some common restaurant injuries?
Nearly all restaurant injuries fall into 1 of the following 3 categories:
- premises liability cases, which are predominantly composed of slip and fall accidents,
- burn injuries, and
- food poisoning injuries.
Some of these injuries can be severe, leading to a personal injury claim. Others can be fatal and lead to a wrongful death lawsuit.
Premises liability or slip and fall accidents
Many restaurant injury lawsuits fall under the law of premises liability. These injuries were caused by dangerous conditions on the restaurant’s property or premises. Many involve a slip and fall, but not all do. Examples of premises liability or slip and fall injuries are:
- tripping on a folded floor mat or other hazardous floor condition,
- slipping on a wet floor,
- sliding on ice in the restaurant’s parking lot,
- falling when your chair broke,
- falling on a step that was not apparent, and
- getting victimized by a crime on the restaurant’s premises due to the establishment’s negligent security.
Generally, property owners have a legal duty of care to take reasonable steps to find and fix hazardous conditions on their premises.1 If the restaurant fails to take those steps and you get hurt as a result, the restaurant can be held liable in a slip and fall case.
Burn injuries can also happen in restaurants. These can happen if:
- the food or a beverage is too hot,
- the plate on which the food is served was heated too much by restaurant employees, or
- you come in contact with hot cooking equipment.
These are especially common injuries to suffer in restaurants that expose their patrons to hot surfaces by:
- seating them in close proximity to where the food is prepared, like in a teppanyaki grill,
- serving food in the pan in which the food was cooked, like when a skillet is then used as the plate, or
- letting patrons cook their own food, like with a fondue.
Many of these injuries can lead to premises liability claims. The restaurant can be held liable for your injuries because they did not take reasonable steps to keep you safe.
Food poisoning injuries
You can also get food poisoning in a restaurant. In some cases, this can put you in a hospital. It can even be life-threatening. It can happen because:
- the restaurant negligently hired a cook who did not know how to prepare or treat food for consumption,
- the food was left to spoil before being served,
- the restaurant did not comply with a food recall by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), or
- the restaurant bought contaminated food from a supplier.
In each of these cases, the restaurant or their supplier can be held liable for your food poisoning.
What compensation am I entitled to recover in a personal injury case?
You are entitled to recover your legal damages. These are all of the ways that you have suffered from the incident. It includes both:
- economic damages, and
- non-economic damages.
Your economic damages are those that can be easily described in an amount of money. After a restaurant injury, they include the medical bills that you have had to pay. If you missed time from work, it also includes your lost wages. If your injury was disabling and impacts your ability to earn a living, you are also entitled to compensation for your reduced earning capacity.
Your non-economic damages are those that cannot be easily described in an amount of money. They include the pain and suffering that you went through, as well as the loss of consortium that your loved ones suffered while you were injured.
How can I calculate a fair settlement?
You can estimate your legal damages by using a settlement formula. A common one to use is the multiplier method.
The multiplier method uses the following formula: Economic damages + (economic damages x multiplier).
The multiplier is a number between 1 and 5. The more the accident has affected your life, the higher it is. It is multiplied to your economic damages in order to estimate your non-economic damages. Your economic damages are then added to this estimation.
For example: Rachel is assaulted in a fast food restaurant’s parking lot. She sues the restaurant because the establishment knew that the lot was a hotbed for crime, but did not install lighting or take any measures to secure it. Her economic damages are $100,000. Rachel’s personal injury lawyer and the restaurant’s insurance adjuster agree to a multiplier of 3 because Rachel was traumatized, but did not suffer serious injuries that required extensive medical treatment. This estimates Rachel’s non-economic damages at $300,000. Added to her economic damages, this puts a fair settlement at $400,000.
What can I expect during the settlement process?
The settlement process for a restaurant injury is a negotiation.
You and your personal injury attorney will demand compensation for your injuries. The restaurant owner and its insurance company will downplay your injuries and try to blame you for them.
As evidence is uncovered, the insurance company will make a settlement offer. This is a payment to make you drop your case. It is often made in the weeks after you get medical attention. It can be negotiated.
If the initial offer or a subsequent one is satisfactory, you can accept it.
If no fair offer is made and the statute of limitations is approaching, you can file a personal injury lawsuit. This spurs the settlement negotiation. If the trial date is reached and there has still not been a satisfactory settlement offer, your lawyer will present your case to the jury. Their verdict will end the case. In some cases, an appeal may follow.
Throughout this process, it is essential to establish an attorney-client relationship with a lawyer from a reputable law firm with a law office near you. Their legal advice can ensure that you recover compensation for your medical expenses and other losses.
- See California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) No. 1000.