A Florida restaurant’s negligence may cause your injury. If so, you may have a personal injury case.
What are the most common types of accidents that result in injury claims against Florida restaurants?
Slips, trips and falls are the most common claims by guests at Florida restaurants. I wrote a separate article that talks specifically about slip and fall injury claims at Florida restaurants.
Slip and Falls in Florida Restaurant Bathrooms
In addition, I wrote another separate article that only talks about injury claims for slip and falls in Florida restaurant bathrooms.
Some interesting restaurant slip and fall statistics
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.
Below are some examples of accident claims against restaurants.
Unsecured beach umbrella strikes you
You could be at a beachside restaurant or bar in Florida. The restaurant could fail to secure its umbrella. It could strike you.
Expect the restaurant to argue that the umbrella did not have a strong enough force to cause a cervical disc herniation. Cervical refers to the neck area.
In cervical herniated disc cases, if you are in your thirties or older the restaurant may argue that your neck injury is degenerative, and pre-existed the accident.
If you get medical treatment at a clinic that only treats patients who have personal injury lawsuits, expect the restaurant to use this to hurt the clinic’s credibility.
The above facts of this beach umbrella case are from the case (not mine) of Garafelo v. Pinchers Beach Bar & Grill Inc. The accident occurred in Lee County, Florida.
The jury returned a defense verdict in March 2015. The injured lady was not awarded any money.
I do not know if she had an attorney. Going to trial in a personal injury case without an attorney is virtually a guaranteed loss.
How do you know if you have a good 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?
Liability for Criminal Acts of Third Parties
Actual Case (not mine): Levitz v. Burger King Corp., 526 So. 2d 1048, 1049 (Fla. 3d DCA 1988).
At approximately 12:15 A.M., Stanley Levitz bought a drink at a Burger King restaurant drive-through window. This BK was located in Miami-Dade County, Florida.
Some of the people who were congregating in the restaurant parking lot shouted comments about his car.
Thinking that he recognized a person in the group, he drove over and stepped out of his car; he was severely injured during an altercation with Richard Darren Sleter. Levitz sued Burger King Corporation to recover damages for injuries he alleged he sustained as a result of Burger King’s negligence.
He argued that Burger King breached its duty to use reasonable care to protect business invitees from the foreseeable danger of an injurious attack occurring on its premises.
Burger King contended that it lacked actual or constructive knowledge of the particular risk and had no reasonable opportunity to protect Levitz. Burger King asserted that Levitz failed to present evidence that Burger King had notice of dangerous incidents involving its invitees and thus could not establish that Burger King breached its duty to Levitz.
Levitz submitted depositions and an affidavit which provided sufficient evidence of the existence of unresolved factual issues, including the foreseeability of the attack in the restaurant parking lot.
The appeals court let the man continue his lawsuit. The injured man had a Miami lawyer.
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.
Can a Florida restaurant employee make a personal injury claim?
A Florida restaurant employee has a workers compensation claim if he or she was injured on the job. The restaurant employee may also have a personal injury claim against a third party.
Comparative negligence of Florida restaurant who is not a party to the lawsuit
A Florida restaurant who contributed to the employee’s injuries may be immune from suit or bankrupt. If so, the restaurant’s percentage of fault is still weighed and decided by a jury.
If the a Florida restaurant is immune from suit because of the worker’s compensation law, the restaurant’s degree of comparative negligence must still be shown and the defendant’s liability reduced by that amount. Allied-Signal, Inc. v. Fox, 623 So. 2d 1180 (Fla. 1993).
Workers Compensation Lien
When workers compensation pays benefits, it has a right to recover them from the employee’s personal injury case. Florida law allows the claimant to get the workers compensation lien reduced by his attorney’s fees and costs.
If a restaurant employee is injured on the job and also has a personal injury claim, he benefits by having an attorney. Florida law also allows the court to consider any other equitable factors when reducing the lien. Manfredo v. Employer’s Cas. Ins. Co., 560 So. 2d 1162 – Fla: Supreme Court 1990.
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, I do not believe that State Farm does not insures Florida restaurants.
This can be good for injured victims. This is 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 commercial general liability (CGL) 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.
Where can I find some past Florida restaurant accident verdicts and settlements?
You can subscribe to a jury verdict report. A few examples are Westlaw, Lexis, Florida Jury Verdict Reporter. There are many more as well.
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.
Who are the major Florida restaurant liability insurers?
I do not know of any list that ranks the largest Florida largest restaurant insurers. However, the insurance companies that I have either dealt with or know insure Florida restaurants are:
- Hanover Insurance Company
- Philadelphia Insurance Companies (Bed and Breakfasts; hotels and resorts)
- Old Dominion Insurance Company (part of Main Street America Group)
- Westfield Insurance Company
- Liberty Mutual Insurance
- Hartford Casualty Insurance Company
- Zurich American Insurance Company
The 2014 Florida Office of Insurance Regulation Annual Report lists the largest commercial multiple peril (liability portion) insurers.
The liability portion of commercial liability insurance covers of a restaurant if its negligence causes someone’s bodily injury. A restaurant is a commercial property, so this list may apply.
Below is a list of some of the 15 largest Florida business liability insurers. It is in terms of Florida written premiums for business liability insurance. It goes from biggest to smallest.
- Federal Insurance Company
- Southern-Owners Insurance Company
- Rockhill Insurance Company
- Scottsdale Insurance Company
- Granada Insurance Company
- First Community Insurance Company
- Nationwide Insurance Company of America (or Allied Insurance Company)
- American Economy Insurance Company
Who is the best Florida restaurant accident lawyer? Who is the top Miami restaurant injury attorney?
Florida ethics rules prevent lawyers from calling themselves the “best” restaurant injury or accident lawyer. So attorneys cannot call themselves the best Florida restaurant accident lawyer.
Attorneys can say that they are experienced at handling restaurant accident cases. They can list their Florida slip and fall and other premises injury settlements.
Restaurants in Florida
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store and Restaurant
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
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.
Did a Florida restaurant’s carelessness cause your injury?
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