Many of us love a night out on the town. A nice meal at a quality restaurant. A few drinks at our favourite bar. As with any activity, these chances to unwind have some risk involved—however small. So, we take precautions. We make sure our food is cooked thoroughly, we stay on lit streets when walking to our cars at night, and of course, we avoid drinking and driving because it is a risk to others and ourselves.
But on a night out we can unexpectedly end up victim to a risk no one should have to worry about: a slip and fall accident in a restaurant or bar. Learn more about slip and fall accidents, their causes, and what you can do if you believe you are a victim of a slip and fall that isn’t your fault.
What to Do in the Event of a Restaurant or Bar Slip and Fall
Seek Medical Attention
Common slip and fall injuries can have dire consequences if not treated quickly. See a doctor immediately or have emergency services transport you directly to the hospital in the aftermath of a slip and fall accident.
Speak to Someone in Charge
It is important to inform someone associated with the bar or restaurant of the incident. Communicating with a manager, owner, or operator can help establish a record of doing so and possibly prevent another slip and fall accident from happening to someone else. Have the person in charge fill out an accident report. The report should include a basic overview of what happened, where you fell, and any items or conditions that may have contributed to the fall such as a wet floor, an unsecured electrical cord, or damaged flooring. Be sure to receive a copy of the accident report for your own records. Take a picture of the document if the person in charge refuses to issue you a copy.
Do Not Place—or Accept—Blame
In the process of speaking to someone in charge at the bar or restaurant, avoid taking or accepting blame. Do not report that you are feeling OK or are not hurt if it isn’t true. If it is clear that you are injured, do not discuss your injuries in detail or editorialize the events that lead to the fall, including any role you may have had in it. Limit your exchange with the individual to the information necessary for the accident report.
Document the Scene and Your Injuries
If you decide to take your slip and fall case to court, you’ll want to have a clear timeline of events. If you have the opportunity to speak to a witness or the restaurant or bar’s manager, write down their account of the incident. If possible, take pictures of the area where the slip and fall occurred, the surrounding environment, and any conditions that contributed to the accident. If surveillance cameras capture footage of the incident, you or your lawyer can make an effort to obtain it.
Speak to Witnesses
The good news is that bars and restaurants are usually packed with witnesses. The bad news is that all the activity going on can obscure their view of what happened. You’ll want to talk to as many of those that were there at the time of the incident as possible to get a full accounting of what occurred. Try to speak to at least one person who saw you get hurt. Don’t be afraid to ask them about the circumstances surrounding the incident including what happened prior to or directly after your slip and fall. Ask individuals for their contact information so you or your lawyer can get in touch with them later.
Common Causes of a Slip and Fall in a Bar or Restaurant
- Spilled food or drinks on the floor.
- Wet floors in aisleways or the bathroom.
- Uneven sidewalks outside the restaurant or bar.
- Entranceways or parking lots that are poorly maintained.
- Rain or ice on the sidewalks or entryways.
- Floor displays that are poorly placed.
- Stray electrical cords in walking areas.
- Damaged flooring.
- Uneven carpeting.
- Poor lighting.
The Role of Alcohol in Slip and Fall Accidents
What makes slip and fall cases in restaurants and bars different from other locations is the involvement of alcohol. Alcohol is frequently legally served at many restaurants and can be involved in slip and fall accidents. If this describes your situation, you may have questions such as:
1. Does being under the influence during a slip and fall incident prevent me from seeking damages from a restaurant or bar for its role in a slip and fall accident?
No. In most cases, your level of intoxication does not negate a restaurant or bar’s responsibility to keep its premises free of dangerous hazards. You can still pursue damages for personal injury as the result of a slip and fall accident, even if you were inebriated.
2. Can being under the influence at the time of my slip and fall accident impact my case?
Maybe. While your intoxication does not negate a bar or restaurant’s responsibilities to keep a safe environment for patrons, the court could decide that your own actions contributed to errors in judgment that led to your accident. However, alcohol consumption is not automatically disqualifying.
3. Could damages for personal injury caused by dangerous premises and personal injury (those responsible for slips and falls) include being “overserved”?
Yes. Bars and restaurants are held to a high standard of alcohol service and are legally required to cease serving drinks to a noticeably intoxicated person. The establishment could see their overall liability for the situation heightened if their overservice contributed to your slip and fall injuries.