Introduction to Restaurant Injury Compensation
If you have been injured in a restaurant accident or sustained a food poisoning injury due to a lack of hygiene in the restaurant´s kitchen, you may be entitled to claim restaurant injury compensation. This article explains how you may qualify for restaurant injury compensation and the procedures you should follow to ensure a successful restaurant injury compensation claim.
Restaurateurs have a duty of care to their customers which involves ensuring that their premises are maintained to a high standard of cleanliness and that the restaurant is safe for customers to use. Walkways need to be kept free of obstacles and spillages need to be cleaned promptly to reduce the risk of slips, trips and falls. The kitchen and food preparation areas need to be kept scrupulously clean, and food needs to be properly prepared to avoid bacterial contamination of the food.
Food poisoning is caused by bacteria which have been allowed to multiply on food or surfaces and a food poisoning injury can be highly serious – often resulting in hospitalisation and even death. Symptoms of bacterial food poisoning include vomiting, diarrhoea, dehydration and abdominal cramps. In cases where hygiene standards have not been maintained and food poisoning is contracted, restaurant injury compensation can often be claimed.
Entitlement to Claim Restaurant Injury Compensation
In order to make a successful restaurant injury compensation claim it is necessary to prove that on the balance of probability an accident and the resultant injuries could have been prevented if the restaurant owner had been more diligent regarding customer care, and that standards had fallen below an acceptable level. In order to make a successful restaurant injury compensation claim an injury needs to have been suffered, and that it was severe enough to warrant seeking medical attention. Negligence alone, without any quantifiable injury, is insufficient cause for a restaurant injury compensation claim, as is injury which cannot be attributed to the lack of care by the restaurateur or any of his staff.
Restaurant Injury Compensation and Negligence
Accidents in restaurants are most commonly caused by slips, trips and falls due to wet floors or spillages, poorly illuminated walkways and staircases or inadequate maintenance of flooring. In cases where the restaurant owner or operator has not fulfilled their duty of care, and has been negligent regarding the health and safety of customers, he could be liable for restaurant injury compensation for any injuries which have been sustained as a direct result.
Injuries sustained in a restaurant may not wholly be the fault of a third party, and a defence against a restaurant injury compensation claim may include contributory negligence, where the claimant has contributed to their injuries by their own lack of care. It may be argued that burns from hot food or plates required greater caution on the part of the claimant, or that the consumption of alcohol may have contributed to the chances of accident and injury occurring. Contributory negligence will affect the amount of a restaurant injury compensation settlement and may even result in an unsuccessful claim.
Restaurant injury compensation can be awarded to employees who have been injured in the workplace. Restaurant owners also have a duty of care to their employee´s health and safety, and are required by law under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1992) to reduce health risks to an acceptable level, and to provide the relevant health and safety equipment. When employees have suffered from an accident or injury in the workplace which can be proven to be the result of employer negligence, they may be entitled to claim restaurant injury compensation.
What to Do Following an Injury in a Restaurant
If you have been injured in a restaurant, the first priority is that of your health and any others who have suffered an injury. All injuries require medical treatment or first aid, and you need to visit the casualty department of the nearest hospital for primary treatment. Should this not be possible, a doctor must be visited at the earliest opportunity. Failure to seek immediate medical attention could affect your entitlement to claim restaurant injury compensation. Your injuries need to be documented accurately as your medical record or hospital file will be used as evidence of injury by a restaurant injury compensation solicitor when pursuing your claim.
Wherever possible you should also use the camera facility on your mobile phone to record any hazardous food spillages, dangerous passageways or faulty restaurant furniture which have contributed to your accident, and make a record of the contact names and addresses of restaurant diners who witnessed your accident.
Reporting Accidents and Injuries
Restaurants are required by law to keep an accident book on the premises, and any accident or injury needs to be accurately recorded. When this is not possible immediately, perhaps due to serious injury, an accident report must be made once you have received treatment for your injuries. A copy of the entry in the accident report book should be retained for your records and you should decline any offer of “compensation in kind” that is offered to you by the restaurateur in lieu of restaurant injury compensation.
In cases where food poisoning is believed to have been contracted at a restaurant, a report must be filed with the environmental health department. They will visit the restaurant and conduct a health and safety inspection, and may even attempt to consult other customers to find out if other diners have been affected. You will need to keep a record of the items consumed together with receipts as proof of purchase and ensure that a copy of the report is given to your solicitor to support your restaurant injury compensation claim.
How Much Restaurant Injury Compensation Will I Receive?
It is impossible to place a value on restaurant injury compensation without a thorough investigation, as this depends on the individual circumstances of each case, including the extent of injuries and any contributory negligence. When restaurant injury compensation is awarded, it is comprised of “general damages” and “special damages”.
General damages compensate for the pain and suffering experienced as a direct result of your injury and through your recovery period. During your recovery period , there may also be a decline in your quality of life, and a restaurant injury compensation solicitor will incorporate a claim for loss of amenity into your restaurant injury compensation claim
Special damages are awarded for quantifiable loss of income and expenses incurred as a direct result of your injury. Receipts for all medical treatment and transportation costs to and from hospital are required to be retained as evidence of payment, and your solicitor will advise you of any other special damages you are permitted to include in your restaurant injury compensation claim.
Speak With a Restaurant Injury Compensation Solicitor
A restaurant injury compensation claim will be made against the restaurateur’s public liability insurance policy. While the restaurant owner will not usually be required to pay any damages personally, insurance premiums will almost certainly be affected by any claim. Restaurant owners may be reluctant to admit liability for financial reasons, or for the affect it will have on their reputation. Claims may be strongly refuted and liability denied, and the legal process can become complicated in such situations. Regardless of whether liability has been accepted or not, it is important to seek legal advice at the earliest possible opportunity after you have received treatment for your restaurant injury.
All articles are written or edited by Eoin Campbell.