Restaurant Owners: How To Avoid Premises Liability

Law Blog

Are you opening a new restaurant? Is this your first time owning a business? If so, you will need make sure you take the appropriate steps to protect yourself from lawsuits. Unfortunately, it is easy to make costly mistakes that can make you vulnerable. This article will focus on preventing premises liability lawsuits.

What Is A Premises Liability Lawsuit?

Commonly referred to as "slip and fall" lawsuits, they can occur when someone is injured on the premises of your business. If someone is injured on your property, you could be held liable if you are found to be negligent.

There are several factors that figure into premises liability. Fortunately, if you are diligent in taking care of your responsibilities, you can easily avoid a lawsuit.

The Owner's Responsibility

As the owner of your establishment, you have a legal obligation to ensure the safety of people who come onto your property. This means you need to maintain a safe environment at all times. Failing to do this could make you vulnerable to a lawsuit.

Here are some of the things you should take care of:

  • Making sure the facility is in good repair.
  • Providing adequate security (if applicable).
  • Ensuring that your employees watch out for hazards. An example would be spilled liquids on the floor.
  • Sanitary eating conditions.

As the owner of the restaurant, you are responsible for preventing foreseeable incidents. This means that if someone is injured as a result of something you couldn't have reasonably foreseen, you probably won't be held liable.

Here's an example that's a bit extreme, but illustrates the point well. If one of your customers is suddenly attacked by zombies in your restaurant, you will not be held liable for zombie bites. You could not have reasonably foreseen a zombie apocalypse in your establishment.

Responsibility Of The Injured Party

Fortunately, you are not the only one who is expected to take reasonable measures to ensure safety. The visitors also have a legal obligation to ensure safety.

If someone is drunk and unruly in your restaurant, and they injure themselves as a result, you cannot be held liable for their injuries. Of course, you may be responsible if they injure other customers due to your lack of security.

Status Of The Visitor

Another aspect of premises liability is the status of the visitor. The law classifies visitors 3 different ways. There are invitees, licensees, and trespassers.

Invitees are people you invite to come into your establishment. They include customers, employees, and repair professionals.

Licensees are people that you don't invite, but permit to be in your establishment. They can include salespeople and other types of solicitors.

Trespassers are people that are on your property illegally. You didn't invite or permit them to be there. These include thieves, robbers, or burglars.

In the case of trespassers, you are not obligated to ensure their safety. If someone breaks into your restaurant and injures themselves, they will not be able to sue you for damages.

When you own and operate a restaurant, there are several precautions you must take in order to protect yourself and your guests. Consult with an attorney like Seiler & Parker PC to make sure you are not leaving yourself vulnerable to a lawsuit.


3 December 2014

Knowing Your Legal Rights Can Help You Greatly in Life

Like many people, I once found learning about law very intimidating. My brother went to law school and I remember glancing through a few of his books and wondering if I was actually reading English due to all of the legal jargon in them! However, when I ended up in a sticky legal situation due to accidentally breaking a small law I didn't know existed, I realized that I needed to learn more about the law, so I could make sure to follow it precisely in the future. My brother helped to break down some complicated legal concepts to me, and I have since been studying up online. I want to post what I have learned and continue to learn about law in the future on my new blog, so my knowledge cannot only help myself, but also help others!