Injury Lawyer for Slip and Fall Accidents at Burger King
When you stepped into your local Burger King, you only wanted to pick up a quick meal, not slip and fall and hurt yourself. You cannot plan for disaster, but Hill and Moin wants to help you respond to it by building your slip-and-fall case. Learn more about personal injury law and how to better ensure the at-fault party compensates you for your physical, emotional and mental injuries.
The Basics of Slip-and-Fall Accidents
You understand that items fall and substances drip onto the floor, that time wears away at surfaces to make them uneven and that some items on the ground serve specific purposes, such as drainage gates. That means property and business owners do not always bear responsibility for failing to clean a slick surface or pick up a hazard immediately. It also means business owners do not always bear liability when a customer or visitor trips or slips on something a reasonable person would expect to encounter in the store and sustains an injury.
Despite those facts, business owners must take steps to keep their premises in great shape and free of hazards. Personal injury cases often hinge on whether the property owner attempted to ensure no one would trip or slip and fall in the business. Personal injury victims must also ask themselves if they displayed carelessness by not sidestepping or seeing the hazard.
To hold Burger King responsible for your injuries, you must prove one of the following:
- The premises owner or an employee knew about the threat to customer safety and did nothing about it.
- The premises owner or an employee caused the torn or worn spot, spill or other hazardous or slick surface in your path.
- The premises owner or an employee should have expected the slip-and-fall risk because a “reasonable” individual would have expected it and taken care of it before someone became injured.
Because you have a negligence claim, your case’s success depends on whether Burger King acted reasonably.
Liability cases rise and fall on common sense and whether the defendant exercised reasonable behavior. For slips and falls in commercial properties, the law focuses on whether the business owner makes regular efforts to keep the store clean and safe. Questions you may ask yourself to better determine if Burger King bears responsibility for your injuries include:
- Does the business have a standard policy for checking and repairing or cleaning the store? If so, does the owner have proof of the regular procedure?
- If you hurt yourself on a broken, ripped or protruding area of floor, carpet or ground, or if you slipped on a slick or loose area, did the hazard exist long enough that the property owner or an employee should have noticed it?
- If you hurt yourself on something someone left in your path, did the item have a reason to be where you stepped?
- If there was a reason for the item to be in your path but that reason no longer stands, could an employee or the property owner have covered or moved the item to make it safe for customers?
- Could the property owner or an employee have moved the item somewhere safer, or could someone have repositioned the item safely without great inconvenience or expense?
- Did missing or broken lighting contribute to your injury?
- Could an employee or the property owner have put up a barrier or warned customers of the hazard to protect you?
If you answer these questions in the affirmative, you could have grounds for a slip-and-fall personal injury case.
Other than Burger King’s liability, you must also consider whether your carelessness contributed to the harm you endured. Under the rules of comparative negligence, you gauge your own reasonableness regarding where you were and how you got there before slipping or tripping and falling. Questions to ask yourself regarding your behavior include:
- Would a prudent person have a reason for being where you were when you hurt yourself, a reason the property owner should have expected?
- Would a cautious person have noticed the hazard and either avoided it or navigated around it carefully enough not to sustain an injury?
- Did you notice warning signs around the hazard?
- Did you engage in behavior that kept you from watching where you stepped, such as looking at an electronic device, running or engaging in horseplay?
While you need not prove you took steps to prevent your injury, it makes sense to replay your actions before the incident, so you may describe them accurately and show your carelessness did not cause the accident.
Steps To Take After Slip-and-Fall Accidents
Much like a car accident, the actions you take after a slip-and-fall injury may either help or hurt your legal case. For falls that happen in restaurants like Burger King, speak with an employee or the property owner to create an accident report, which creates a paper trail for the accident and your injuries. Before leaving the store, request a copy of the report for your records.
Another step to take before leaving is to document the scene as much as possible. If anyone witnessed your fall, ask for a verbal or written statement along with the person’s contact information. Snap pictures of the hazard you and everything around it. If you hurt yourself on an object, preserve it, if possible. It also makes sense to preserve all the clothes you wore during the accident, as they could become critical evidence.
Even if you feel okay after slipping and falling, seek medical attention ASAP. Some slip-and-fall injuries, such as soft tissue injuries, do not appear until days or weeks later. If you file an insurance claim and tell the claims adjuster you did not hurt yourself, you could compromise your case if you learn you have a delayed injury or symptoms and want to change your statement.
Examples of Legal Damages in Slip-and-Fall Accidents
After a personal injury, victims often wonder about their case’s worth. Legal damages compensate victims for psychological and physical suffering and restore them to their pre-accident financial state. New York law categorizes damages as compensatory and punitive.
These damages compensate slip-and-fall plaintiffs for monetary losses endured because of the injury or accident. For instance, you could require medical attention immediately after your accident and in the future to make a full recovery. Your injuries may force you to miss work, which could qualify you for lost wages damages, which also account for the income you may lose in the future.
More severe slip-and-fall accidents and injuries could cause victims emotional distress. You may find it difficult to sleep or experience anxiety or depression connected to the accident or your injuries. Depending on the state, a court could qualify emotional distress as pain and suffering damages.
If a personal injury victim’s relationship with a spouse deteriorates because of the injury, the plaintiff may qualify for loss of consortium damages. Other than a loss of companionship, a jury or judge could consider how slip-and-fall injuries affect the relationship between parent and child and award the injured party damages.
When defendants display especially offensive or careless behavior, plaintiffs may receive punitive damages. These damages penalize the at-fault party and act as a deterrent against similar behavior.
Schedule a Consultation Today
If you slipped and fell in Burger King recently, you may have a personal injury case. Call Hill and Moin at 212-668-6000 to speak with one of our experienced representatives and explore your legal options.
If you sustained an injury from a slip and fall accident at any of the following commercial properties, our personal injury attorneys can help:
- Baskin Robbins
- Bath & Body Works
- Big Lots
- BJ’s Wholesale Club
- Burlington Coat Factory