Slips, Trips, and Falls in Restaurants

Slips, trips, and falls are the most common cause of injury in restaurants among both employees and customers. Think about it . . . Beverages and grease splatter on the floor throughout day, and mopping can make the floor even more slippery. On top of that, simply walking around in most restaurants is an awkward and often dangerous task. The aisles between tables are typically narrow and cramped, and during busy times, servers scurry about carrying large trays of hot food. Considering the environment, it’s a miracle that more people aren’t injured by falling in restaurants.

Each year, three million workers and one million customers are injured due to slips, trips, and falls in restaurants. Slips, trips, and falls account for 27% of all workers’ compensation claims and 39% of all general liability claims in the restaurant industry. For slips, trips, and falls, the average general liability claim cost for restaurants is $3,550.

According to the National Safety Council, slips, trips, and falls are the single largest cause of Emergency Room visits. Sadly, slips and falls cause over 20,000 fatalities in North America each year, and slips and falls are a leading cause of death in the workplace (second only to traffic accident fatalities).

In restaurants, people commonly slip on spilled food and beverages, but may they also trip in pot hot holes in the parking lot, slip on snow or ice in the parking lot, or trip over furniture, floor displays, or other obstructions.

The National Restaurant Association reveals that slips and falls are the greatest source of general liability claims within the restaurant industry. Here are some tips for preventing slips and falls in restaurants as well as what to do if you fall:

Tips for Restaurant Employees:

- Make sure that mats and runners are in place in commonly slippery areas.

- Wear slip-resistant shoes.

- Clean up spills immediately, and mark the spill with a sign.

- Conduct frequent inspections of floors.

- Pay attention during safety training.

- Report all slips, trips, and falls to a manager immediately, even if you don’t think you’re injured.

- Get a copy of the incident report.

- Take note of witnesses.

- If you fall, use a quality cell phone camera or disposable camera to take photos of the scene. See your doctor as soon as possible.


Tips for Restaurant Guests:

- Immediately report any spills or floor hazards to a manager.

- Walk slowly and carefully, and keep your eye on fast-moving employees.

- Report all slips, trips, and falls immediately, even if you don’t think you’re injured. Insist on speaking to a manager, and insist that the manager give you a copy of a written incident report.

- If you fall in a restaurant, take photos of the area where you fell if you have a camera or good cell phone camera on you. If you don’t have a camera, borrow one or purchase a disposable camera.

- Write down the names and phone numbers of other people at the scene.

- See your doctor as soon as possible.

- Don’t sign anything unless your attorney reviews it first.

- If you get a call from an insurance claims adjustor, he or she will probably get you to admit fault or partial responsibility. Tell the claims adjustor that you’re represented by an attorney, and you do not have to comment.

The leading causes of falls in restaurants include poor design and layout, poor maintenance, spilled liquids, spilled food, poor housekeeping, and floor obstructions. Poor design may refer to slippery floor coverings, low light, or slopes in floors. Examples of poor maintenance include frayed carpet, broken lights, leaking sinks, untimely ice removal, and broken tables or chairs. Common floor obstructions include floor mats, displays and signs, and shrubbery.

If you’ve been injured due to a slip, trip, or fall in a restaurant, you may be entitled to a personal injury claim. Restaurant owners, managers, and supervisors have a duty to uphold safety standards and warn people about any potential hazards.

When you sustain a personal injury because of a slip, trip, or fall in a restaurant - or any kind of personal injury where another party may be liable - contact The Law Offices of Michael Lawson Neff as soon as possible. If you have any questions, call (404) 531-9700 to schedule your free consultation.