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What constitutes responsibility for a restaurant when you have a slip and fall case.

Drexel Hill, PA |

While being taken to a table in a restaurant, my wife slipped and fell directly on her back. She developed a large bump near the spine and has severe bruising on her back. The floor is a wood floor and we did not notice any liquid or other matter on the floor where she slipped. The floor is a bit slick even when dry. She continues to have discomfort. She has not seen a physician for the injury. Does it make any sense whatsoever to pursue a case?

Attorney Answers 9


  1. First, if your wife has ongoing issues, she needs to see a physician. She should also absolutely consult with an attorney in your area to go over the case in greater detail. A restaurant has the highest duty to its customers and if the floor is consistently slick, it had an obligation to make the facility safe. She will need medical treatment, however, to establish damages and the more time that goes by, the more difficult it becomes.

    This communication is intended as general information and not specific legal advice, and this communication does not create an attorney-client relationship. To get legal advice, consult an attorney in your local area or the area where the issue is located. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response is based on the limited facts provided, and without any independent investigation of the author. Given additional or different facts, the response would likely change. The attorney providing this response is licensed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and you should contact an attorney in your jurisdiction if it is outside those jurisdictions.


  2. Premises liability cases are very hard. Without any defect that you noticed, nearly impossible to win


  3. Doctor first.
    PI attorney close second.
    Whether its worth it depends on the facts. FWIW, you already noted lack of wetness on the floor -perhaps eliminating one possibility ...stay off line with any further statements against the interests of your wife's possible case until you've seen an attorney.

    NOT LEGAL ADVICE. FOR EDUCATION AND INFORMATION ONLY. Mr. Rafter is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the US Federal Courts in Virginia. There is no implied or actual attorney-client relationship arising from this education exchange. You should speak with an attorney licensed in your state, to whom you have provided all the facts before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. Mr. Rafter is under no obligation to answer subsequent emails or phone calls related to this matter.


  4. Absolutely get medical care regardless of your intentions about pursuing legal action. In order to have a successful negligence action you must demonstrate that someone (here the restaurant) did or failed to do something that directly caused your injuries. A slick floor is potentially such a cause. I recently was successful in obtaining a six-figure settlement for an elderly woman who fell when she did not notice a step down into the dining room due to a lack of proper lighting, no change in the flooring from the hallway into the dining room and a failure of the staff to warn of the step despite typically doing so. I agree with the poster who says these are difficult cases. Nonetheless, when handled properly from the start they can be successful.


  5. Yes. Why leave money on the table? Restaurants have insurance.


  6. If she is injured, she should seek medical attentiona ASAP. She should then seek an experienced personal injury attorney to represent her (and possibly your) interests, investigate on your behalf and advocate for you and your wife. Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis and offer free consultations. I am not licenced in Pennsylvania, but if you need a referral I can provide you with one. Good luck.

    The above is general information only and is not legal advice. The information provided does not form an attorney-client relationship, and should not be relied upon to take or refrain from taking any action. I am not your attorney until we sign a retainer agreement.


  7. Regardless of any potential lawsuit she really should see a doctor immediately and follow that doctor's recommendations for treatment, diagnostic tests, or therapy. Health is the first concern, but if you decide to pursue a lawsuit having her injuries and treatment documented are invaluable when trying to recover money.

    It is difficult to say whether the case is worth pursuing based upon the facts you stated. Restaurants have to have reasonable notice of an unsafe condition, which can be a challenge. My firm has had numerous cases against restaurants and stores over the years and each is different. In one case we recovered significant money for a client when she slipped on a wooden floor in a national steakhouse chain. There was no specific spill on the floor but we argued waiters were tracking grease from the kitchen into the dining area. The floor did not look wet but you could feel that it was slick and more slippery than the surrounding area. However, that was a really tough case and the client had several surgeries. The significant damages made litigating it worthwhile and we had a safety engineer support our allegations through slip resistance testing, etc.

    Regardless, you should speak to an attorney and have he or she look into for you. If you are signed to a contingent fee agreement you shouldn't have to pay anything out of pocket, even if the firm decides they can't bring a case after investigating. At least, that is what my firm does as do most firms that takes cases on a contingent fee.

    Again, please make sure your wife gets treatment if she is in pain. Best of luck.

    Legal disclaimer: I am not your attorney and no attorney-client relationship exists nor is intended to exist or to be formed by providing the information above. The information provided is not legal advice and is not intended to be taken as legal advice. Any person faced with the above-referenced situation should immediately consult an attorney licensed within the applicable state or jurisdiction before taking any action based on this or any other information.


  8. Regardless of your decision to litigate this matter, first and foremost, have your wife seek medical attention. Aside from the obvious need to see a doctor, it is also important for your possible personal injury case. If she does not seek medical attention, and has no medical damages, she will have no chance of success in court. Medical documentation is an absolutely necessary first step. In addition, you should consult with a personal injury attorney to determine the merits of her case.

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