Going out to eat at your neighborhood’s favorite restaurant is the perfect weekend activity. Whether you’re going out with family or friends, sharing a meal at your favorite spot is supposed to be a fun and pleasant experience. 

According to a new survey, around 56% of Americans who eat out will do so between 3–4 times a week, including eating at restaurants and ordering food to go. So eating out is a fave for the everyday American, but sometimes, an injury or accident could taint this fun activity. If this happens, the restaurant could be liable if this was caused by negligence of the restaurant owner. 

Premises liability is the legal concept where a property owner is liable for injuries to guests and visitors. In order to win a premises liability case, the guest or customer must prove that the property owner was negligent concerning ownership or maintenance of the premises. This commonly occurs in personal injury cases where the incident happened at a public place, like a restaurant.

It’s important to note that just because you were injured at someone else’s property does not mean the property owner was negligent or created an unsafe situation for them to be liable. You need to show and prove that the property owner knew or should have known that the premises were dangerous for the customers. 

Restaurant owners are responsible for providing a safe space for their guests and visitors and providing a warning when conditions may be unsafe. They can be held accountable for injuries happening on the premises, including parking lots and surrounding areas. The most common injuries they could be liable for are slips and falls caused by spills, uneven flooring or pavement outside the restaurant, and poorly lit areas like parking lots.

 

Here are some examples of Premises Liability cases

Slip and fall:  These are the most straightforward premises liability cases; some common conditions that lead to a slip and fall are:

  • Food or drink spill
  • Accumulation of ice and snow
  • Wet or oily floors
  • Hidden extension cords
  • Unsecured carpets or rugs
  • Broken/loose tiles or wooden floors, steps, or sidewalks

Defective conditions on the premises: This can be because of poor design, repairs or construction, building code violations, unmarked hazardous areas or insufficient maintenance. It includes: missing or damaged stairs, inadequate handrails, and damaged doors or windows. 

 

 

Inadequate security: Most common in an apartment or office buildings but could also apply to restaurants. 

Fires, water leaks, and floods: On the rare occasion a fire or flooding happens, the premise could be liable if these conditions cause injury. 

Slips and falls because of spills are the #1 cause of injury in restaurant liability cases. Still, the customers must prove negligence in any case, so showing that the restaurant created a hazard, knew of it, or should have known of it is vital. Evidence of how long the spill was there, with no one cleaning it, will be a deciding factor in the case. 

 

 

Restaurants could also be liable for negligent security if they have created an unsafe environment or conditions inside and around the restaurant. For example, if a drunken customer attacks or assaults another customer, the restaurant could be liable for providing alcohol to an already intoxicated person, especially if there has been a history of fights at that location. A dark parking lot could also be considered unsafe. Suppose there’s a history of robbery or rape at the site, and the owners didn’t provide additional security or lighting. In that case, they could be liable for creating unsafe conditions for their customers. 

In order to file a negligence claim seeking damages, the customer must prove four elements:

  1. Must show that there was a dangerous condition on the property:  From a spill in the floor to a loose handrail, the customer must prove there was something causing danger in the premises. 
  2. Prove that the property owner knew or should have known of the danger: This refers to the owner’s duty of inspecting the property for dangerous conditions. 
  3. The third element refers to the property owner not fixing the situation: Failing to clean up a spill, repair the damage or prevent customers from going through any hazard that could cause injury.
  4. Finally, the customer must prove that this caused their injuries: In Georgia, this requires establishing that the dangerous conditions caused the injury. This means that the incident is a direct result of the hazard. 

Like any other public site, restaurants have the legal duty of keeping their customers safe from dangerous conditions. Exposing them to any hazard will leave the business owner liable.

Getting a team of attorneys to determine the best course of action will be the first step in filing a personal injury claim. Contact the personal injury experienced attorneys at Castan & Lecca; we have represented many accident victims who were injured due to unsafe conditions. 

(864)761-4141

MICHAEL BOESCHEN

Attorney

Michael Boeschen (Mike) was born in Wichita, KS and raised in Chattanooga, TN. Mike graduated from The McCallie School and went on to study history, Spanish, and Latin American Studies at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX. After graduation, he went on to pursue a law degree from the University Of Georgia School Of Law. During law school, Mike participated in the Legal Aid Clinic, assisting in the defense of indigent criminal defendants. Mike has been licensed to practice law in Georgia since 2002 and his main practice area consists of representing injured workers as they navigate through the Georgia workers’ compensation system. Mike is also fluent in Spanish. In his spare time Mike enjoys following soccer, cooking, and spending time with his wife and two young daughters. Mike and his family are parishioners of the Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Sandy Springs, GA

CHRISTIAN PECONE

Attorney

ED DENKER

Attorney

Edward Denker was born in Philadelphia, PA but has made Georgia his home since 1999. He graduated from the Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor’s degree in liberal arts. He then earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Georgia. Edward spent his first years in practice representing clients in personal injury and wrongful death claims. He then spent more than a decade honing his litigation skills representing employers and insurers in workers’ compensation claims, where he gained immense experience and knowledge of how insurers defend those claims. In 2017, Edward returned to his passion of representing people who have been injured at work or through the negligence of others. When he isn’t working, Edward enjoys spending time with his wife and their two children. He is also an avid sports fan, and enjoys cooking and travel

ILIANA DOBREV

Attorney

Iliana Dobrev was born in Bulgaria. After high school, she immigrated to the United States to study law. She graduated magna cum laude from Georgia State University with a Bachelor’s in political science concentrating on pre-law and minoring in Spanish. In 2015, she graduated from Georgia State University College of Law. While in law school, Iliana completed a Graduate Research Assistantship in Labor and Employment Law and Employment Discrimination and two externships in Immigration Law. As an immigrant herself, Iliana is passionate about advocating for and defending immigrants. She is delighted to help families stay together and pursue the American dream. Iliana is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and worked in both a fellowship and a firm specializing in immigration law. Iliana is fluent in Bulgarian and Spanish

KEN THAXTON

Attorney

Ken Thaxton was born and raised in Roberta, GA. When Ken was a child, his father started a trucking business, which Ken ultimately spent over ten years working with through his late teens and twenties. Ken graduated from Houston County High School in Warner Robins, GA in 2001 with a 4.0 GPA. He then studied Business and Information Technology at Macon State College, ultimately graduating with a 4.0 GPA in 2004. After graduation, Ken continued to work with his father’s trucking company, and in late 2005, Ken and his father started an aircraft charter company, Southern Jet, Inc., under Part 135 of the Federal Aviation Regulations. Ken served as President of Southern Jet from 2006 until 2010, when he and his father sold the company. Ken is a Commercially Licensed Instrument, Multi-Engine Pilot. While serving as President of Southern Jet, Ken started Law School at the University of Georgia School of Law in 2009. Ken focused primarily on business and civil law, including Workers’ Compensation, while at UGA. He graduated Cum Laude and in the top 25% of his class from UGA Law in 2012. Ken is a licensed to practice law in the State of Georgia, and he is also a licensed neutral (mediator) in the State of Georgia. Ken represents small businesses in transactional matters and business conflicts, and he also represents injured workers and Plaintiffs injured in cases of negligence. During his spare time, Ken enjoys swimming, cycling, sporting clays, and fishing. He also does charity work with a national scholarship fund

ALEXANDER LECCA

Attorney

Alexander Lecca (Alex) was born in Miami, Florida to immigrant parents from Cuba and Peru. Alex graduated from Coral Gables High School, where he was a recipient of the Elsa Glazer Award (given to students who graduate with a 3.5 GPA and above). He went on to study marketing at the University of Miami School of Business Administration. At the University of Miami he was also a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. After graduation, he went on to pursue a law degree from St. Thomas University School of Law. In law school, Alex received several book awards and graduated Cum Laude. During law school Alex clerked for the Honorable Beth Bloom, had an internship with the Miami-Dade County Public Defender’s office, and clerked for a prestigious litigation law firm. Alex is licensed to practice law in both Georgia and Florida and handles workers’ compensation and personal injury cases. He is also a registered mediator with the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution. Alex is also fluent in Spanish. During his spare time, Alex enjoys outdoor activities with his wife and four children. He also helps coach his children’s baseball, football, basketball, and soccer teams. Alex and his family are parishioners of St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church

DANIEL CASTAN 

Attorney

Dan Castan is a senior partner at Castan and Lecca, PC in Buckhead and represents injured workers before the State Board of Workers’ Compensation and plaintiffs in State and Superior Courts of Georgia for injuries suffered in accidents. Dan litigated one of the seminal claims securing the rights of undocumented workers to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits in the state of Georgia when injured in the case of Wet Walls, Inc. vs. Ledesma. Dan has successfully fought and settled multi million dollar cases. He was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey to immigrant parents from Cuba. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Boston College and received his Juris Doctor from The Washington College of Law at The American University in Washington D.C.  Dan was admitted to the Georgia Bar in November, 1993.  He is an active member of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, Atlanta Bar Association and the Workers’ Compensation Section of the State Bar of Georgia. Dan is a founding member and Director of the Latino Victory Fund Georgia and serves on the Board of The Latin American Association. Dan has been dedicated to getting Latinos elected to local, state and Federal offices in Georgia. He has been a Big Brother through Big Brothers and Sisters of Metro Atlanta and a mentor through The Latin American Association’s mentor/mentee program. Dan is married with two children.