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Paralyzed by Love? How to Take Personal Injury Action


Our story begins with John taking Sarah out for a Valentine’s Day dinner celebration.  The lovebirds safely arrive at the restaurant and John is a perfect gentleman, opening the door for Sarah.  The table they’re walking towards glows in the candlelight and the aroma of delicious food fills the air.  Then all of the sudden there’s the sound of crashing dishes and John is on the ground.

What happened?  John slipped in a puddle of spilled wine on the floor and hit his head on a table; instead of a lovely dinner, John received a concussion and a broken nose.  The waiter responsible for the tables in the area spilled wine and decided to clean the spill up after he finished serving the tables on the other side of the restaurant.  Because of the restaurant’s negligence, John has incurred medical bills and may be out of work as he recovers, which means lost wages.

Restaurants have a reasonable duty of care to their customers; they are responsible for keeping their property safe for customers and if they cannot, they must warn the customers of a potential danger.  When a person is injured in a restaurant (both inside the building and in the parking lot), they can hold the restaurant liable for negligence.  The highest level of care businesses owe is to their customers.

There are four things John (plaintiff) must prove to show that the restaurant (defendant) was negligent.

  • Duty - The defendant had a reasonable duty of care to the plaintiff.
  • Breach of Duty - The defendant would have known that the negligence could lead to an injury.
  • Causation - The defendant’s negligence actually caused the injury.
  • Damages - The court is able to award the plaintiff (usually for medical expenses and lost wages).

The restaurant where John and Sarah dined owed them the highest duty of care.  Because the waiter who spilled the wine knew about the spill but failed to clean it up or mark the area with a warning sign, John unknowingly stepped in the puddle and slipped.  John’s injuries are a result of the waiter’s lack of action to address the spill.  While it was the waiter’s negligence that led to John’s slip, the restaurant itself is liable.  Since John had to go to the hospital and was out of work for a while, he has lost wages and has medical bills to pay.  All four things a plaintiff must prove apply to John’s situation, making the restaurant responsible for his injuries.

Laws are set in place to hold establishments responsible for the safety of their customers and visitors.  If you are injured in a restaurant or in any other establishment, here a few things you should do:

  • Get medical treatment immediately
  • Document your injury and medical treatments
  • Preserve evidence (medical bills, clothing, photos, etc.)
  • Contact a lawyer

Making a personal injury claim against a restaurant can be daunting and can consume your resources (both time and money), and you may not be able to defend yourself if your injuries are severe.  It’s important to get professional legal counsel to help you collect damages you’re owed from a negligent restaurant.  If you’ve been injured because of a business’s negligence, contact Colley & Colley law firm in Tyler, Texas for a free consultation.  We are dedicated to providing you the best legal care in East Texas.