A Florida restaurant’s carelessness may cause your injury. If so, you may have a personal injury case.
What are the most common injury claims at Florida restaurants?
Slips, trips and falls are the most common claims by guests at Florida restaurants. A restaurant insurance company took a study of claims in the US made by insured restaurants.
The average expense of each claim was over $3,500. Those claims include guest and worker injury claims. That study was not specific to Florida.
Another study revealed the customer falls made up over 55% of restaurant liability insurance claims.
Why are there so many slip, trips and falls at Florida restaurants and bars?
Guests may not familiar with the premises liability. If you tripped and fell at a restaurant to which you been there before, an adjuster may reduce the value of the case. The insurer may argue that you should have known about the dangerous condition because you had been to the restaurant before the fall.
Does dim lighting at a Florida restaurant affect the case?
It may. Many restaurants have dim lighting to make it more appealing. But dim lighting may increase the risk of slip, trip and falls.
A patron may slip or trip on a hazard and falls. If the lighting was dim, the victim’s case may be stronger.
Restaurant Floors and Cleaning
Cleaning up Spills
A restaurant employee may notice a hazard on the floor. If so, the restaurant should quickly place a wet floor sign there.
If a cone is not used, there are bright-colored pads that can be put on top of the spill. Restaurant employees will be aware that the area needs to be cleaned. Customers will know to lookout for a spill if they see the pads.
Mats in a restaurant are to help the restaurant be safer. The restaurant still needs to make sure that the floors are safe. Restaurants still need to clean any food or spills on the floor.
Mats at the entrance to the restaurant should not overlap. The same is true for mats in the dining area.
After a fall, the injured person should take pictures of any mats from several angles. The victim should also take pictures showing the layout of the restaurant.
Rubber, non-slip, anti-fatigue, grease proof mats are used where food spills commonly occur. This includes next to a salad bar.
Some anti-fatigue mats do not absorb liquid. If so, they should not be placed next to a soda station. This is because spills will move off the mat and onto the floor.
Carpet mats should be used next to a drink station. If carpet mats are used, they should cover the entire length of the soda station.
Olefin Fiber Mats
Olefin fiber mats are good for customer drink stations. Spills may occur there. A guest can claim that a restaurant that does not have an olefin fiber mat at a drink station is negligent.
Wiper (Scraper) Mats
Restaurant safety experts recommend wiper (scraper) mats for areas going from the kitchen to the dining area. A restaurant patron may slip on grease and fall.
The victim should take pictures of any wiper/scraper mats that were used. If mats were not used, the victim should take pictures showing that mats were not present.
The injured person may claim that the restaurant was careless by not using mats leading from the kitchen to the dining area.
In the above picture, footprints are in the kitchen area. There are also foot prints in the walkway from the kitchen to the restaurant dining area.
The injured victim should take pictures of these footprints. They may show that employees were tracking grease from the kitchen into the dining area.
Take pictures from many angles. It will help the restaurant’s insurance claims adjuster (or jury) get a good idea of the entire accident scene.
Stepping on broken tile and falling
A restaurant may have broken tile outside of its entrance. It may look like the broken tile in the above picture.
The restaurant may be negligent for failing to fix or warn guests of this hazard. The restaurant may or may not own the property.
The restaurant and the property owner will likely have insurance. The insurance claims adjuster may place blame on a customer for not seeing walking around the broken tile.
In the picture above, the color of the missing tile is white which contrasts with the surrounding flooring. This makes the injured person’s case tougher.
The yellow pole is next to the broken tile. The yellow pole is very visible. The insurance restaurant’s adjuster will argue that the a guest should not be walking next to the yellow pole.
The insurance adjuster will argue that the customer should have noticed the broken tile because it is right next to a highly visible pole. The injured person’s case may be worth less if he fell while exiting the restaurant.
This is because the adjuster will argue that the claimant should have seen the broken tile when entering the restaurant. Thus, the adjuster may argue that the restaurant had no duty to warn the claimant.
How do you know if you have an injury case against a Florida restaurant?
This is not a cut and dry answer. Over 86 factors may affect whether you have a Florida restaurant accident case. I will discuss some of these factors further below.
Which injuries are the subject of most Florida restaurant accident claims?
All the settlements in this article are before deduction for attorney’s fees and expenses. Most cases result in a lower recovery. It should not be assumed that your case will have as beneficial a result.
My client was a guest at a Denny’s restaurant. It was in North Miami Beach, Dade County, Florida. He got up from the booth. While doing so, the booth tipped in the air.
He had two surgeries to repair his wrist fracture. In the second surgery, hardware was inserted. He took a video which showed that the booth was like a see-saw. This helped the claim.
The restaurant was insured by Travelers Insurance. They are a good Florida insurer. However, they did not offer fair value. Thus, I sued the Denny’s franchisee. We settled during litigation.
Sometimes a restaurant’s negligence may cause a guest’s death.
Learn about a $1.5 Million verdict against Mcdonald’s for man who is killed in parking lot. This not my case.
Restaurants have a duty to make the premises safe. They have a duty to provide security if the restaurant is in a high crime area.
How does a Florida restaurant injury case compare to a case against Publix Supermarket, Walmart or Walt Disney World?
Most aspects are similar. The same is true if the case was against a Florida Walmart or Walt Disney World. However, there are additional theories of liability in restaurant accident cases. These include grease tracking and other theories.
Unlike Publix, many Florida restaurants are fully insured. In most restaurant injury claims, an insurer pays the settlement. Some restaurants are individually owned and operated.
Larger restaurant chains have a self-insured retention (SIR). But some of these larger restaurant chains have franchisees. The franchisees are most likely fully insured.
A restaurant may be fully insured. If so, you may have some additional leverage. Sometimes insurers do not act fairly.
You can file a consumer complaint or civil remedy notice. You usually do not have those options if the claim is against a self-insured restaurant.
Further below I talk about which larger restaurant chains may be self insured.
How do I calculate how much a Florida restaurant injury claim is worth?
It takes years of experience. You first figure out the full value of the damages. Decrease that amount by the percentage chance that a jury will find the restaurant not negligent. Reduce that amount by the percentage of the victim’s fault, if any.
How do restaurant injury claims compare to claims with State Farm Insurance?
State Farm is the leading US personal lines property/casualty company (by premiums). However, State Farm does not insure Florida restaurants. This can be good because State Farm is below average at paying injury claims.
Restaurant injury claims are similar to claims against State Farm. However, there are differences. State Farm usually has low limits of bodily injury coverage in its Florida auto policies. Most Florida restaurants have high limits of liability coverage.
Therefore, a car accident case against State Farm may settle faster than a Florida restaurant injury claim. State Farm may want to settle the claim to avoid excess financial exposure.
Are restaurant injury settlements similar to most Florida accident settlements?
Yes. However, any possible settlement will depend on the facts of the case. Take a look at some Florida injury settlements.
The devil is in the details. Many smaller Florida injury settlements cannot be found online. Many defense verdicts are not online.
Florida attorneys generally like to talk about their good results. Many do not mention the smaller settlements. I have written about many Florida injury settlements.
Many may have been larger if the case was against a careless restaurant instead of an auto insurer. This is because restaurants generally have much higher limits of coverage.
Is there a settlement calculator for Florida restaurant injury cases?
The closest thing to an accurate settlement calculator for Florida restaurant accident cases is Colossus. It is only available to the insurance companies.
There are injury calculators online. Most, if not all, do not use Florida law. This makes them virtually useless.
The online settlement calculators use the total billed medical charges as part of the victim’s economic damages. This is incorrect in Florida.
In Florida, the injured person can only recover the out of pocket medical expenses. The victim can also recover first party medical liens which are subject to subrogation. My Florida injury claim value calculator uses the out of pocket medical bills (and liens).
Online calculators do not tell you how to determine if the defendant is at fault. They do not discount the full value of the case if the defendant is not negligent. They also do not decrease the full value of the case based on the percentage chance that there is a defense verdict.
Online calculators do not reduce the full value of your Florida restaurant injury case by the victim’s comparative fault.
Claims Directors for Florida restaurants
Russ French is director of claims for Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar and IHOP.
Larger restaurant chains that may be self-insured
Some larger restaurant chains that may be self insured in Florida are listed below:
Baja Fresh Mexican Grill
Bojangles’ Famous Chicken ‘n Biscuits
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s
Ben & Jerry’s
BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse
Buffalo Wild Wings
Burger King (but also has many franchisees)
California Pizza Kitchen
Carrabba’s Italian Grill
Chili’s Grill & Bar
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store
Denny’s (see a $210,000 settlement against a Denny’s franchisee)
Five Guys Burgers and Fries
Flanigan’s Seafood Bar and Grill
Hungry Howie’s Pizza
Joe’s Crab Shack
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts
Papa John’s Pizza
Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen
Tropical Smoothie Cafe
Darden Restaurants, Inc.
The Capital Grille
Cracker Barrel has many Florida restaurants. It is worth $3.38 Billion. It can afford to pay a catastrophic injury claim.
Bloomin’ Brands, Inc
Bloomin’ Brands is a casual dining restaurant company with many restaurant concepts. Bloomin Brands is worth $2.89 Billion so it can afford to pay a catastrophic injury claim. Its five concepts include: Outback Steakhouse, Carrabbas’s Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, and Roy’s.
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