When a Restaurant Slip-and-Fall Gives Rise to a Personal Injury Lawsuit

An evening on the town should provide nothing but enjoyment. But the number of unnecessary (and certainly unplanned) slips, trips and falls that occur at restaurants and nightspots indicates how many proprietors fail to maintain their properties for public safety.

Proprietors need to be aware of basic physics. Slippery floors, an abrupt change of elevation or an object such as a rug can easily cause a tumble. In Applied Kinesiology and Biomechanics (C. Jensen), a walker’s motions are broken down into propulsion, swing, and catch and support. Any of these motions can result in an accident, and they often do. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the most common cause of injury for older adults, with more than 2 million nonfatal slip-and-fall accidents and more than 20,000 deaths in 2010.

Restaurants and other public spaces (privately and publicly owned) have a responsibility to prevent such falls. When a customer, employee or visitor to the property is injured because of a feature or operational practice of the property, the injured person can pursue financial compensation for costs resulting from the accident.

Such a lawsuit depends on the following:

  • Reasonably safe conditions not maintained. All areas open to the public should be free of slippery floors and impediments, such as loose carpets.
  • Fair notice of the hazard. If a new hazard occurred, such as a leaky pipe leading to slippery floors, the proprietor should at least have been aware of the problem and had time to address it.
  • Injuries resulting in expenses. A plaintiff must prove the accident caused the injury and that those injuries were directly responsible for certain costs, including pain and suffering.

Slip-and-fall injuries can be fatal, in which case, the survivors of the deceased can collect under the civil laws pertaining to wrongful death. Whether you are an injury victim or a relative of a deceased victim in Massachusetts, a personal injury attorney can provide valuable guidance. Acting promptly enables a competent law firm’s investigative staff to obtain critical evidence before it can be concealed or destroyed.