In this particular case, a woman has filed suit against Carraba/Outback after she fell at one of their restaurants and alleges that her fall and subsequent injuries were caused by negligence on the establishment's behalf.
The incident in question took place on September 20th of last year. Summer Miller was a patron at Carraba's Italian Grill in Beaumont when she slipped on the restaurant floor and went down in a heap. The resulting injuries from her fall are considered permanent, according to the complaint, and have caused a great deal of pain, suffering and anguish.
Additionally, Miller claims that she has incurred substantial medical costs and newfound physical challenges stemming from her injuries have resulted in lost income. Further, the plaintiff charges that her normal ability to care for the needs of both herself and her family has been greatly diminished due to the slip and fall in the restaurant.
Miller's complaint was filed by slip and fall lawyers October 23rd, 2008, in Jefferson County District Court, and has been assigned to Judge Donald Floyd, of 182nd District Court.
In the complaint, Miller asserts lax housekeeping that is the bane of many similar establishments. In sum, in the rush to provide good service to the customer—hot food and drink, timely delivery of orders and the like—basic housekeeping chores that represent a hazard to customer and staff are often overlooked to the establishment's peril.
The plaintiff alleges that the restaurant was negligent because it failed to keep floors clean, dry and safe. The complaint also alleges that a slip hazard was allowed to remain on the floor, the restaurant failed to inspect the premises for the presence of a slip hazard and therefore failed to correct a dangerous condition.
There are numerous slip hazards that an establishment needs to be mindful of. Grease spilled on the floor in the kitchen area can easily be tracked into the main area by a server. Other spills, such as dropped plates, can introduce a hazard to floor surfaces that can be quite suitable when dry, but extremely hazardous when wet.
Thus, water cannot be left to accumulate on the floor, even in the midst of clean-up. And when a floor is mopped, either to clean up a spill or to eradicate the dirt, grime and slush that often accompanies foot traffic in areas of the country where there is snow, a hazard sandwich board needs to be placed, alerting patrons of the hazardous condition.
While it doesn't apply to California, restaurants and other establishments in colder climates need to pay attention to the sidewalk, or exterior access immediately adjacent to the outer door. This writer witnessed a nasty fall last year by a patron attempting to access a restaurant in a northern climate. While the sidewalk had been cleared of wet snow, the constant dripping of a leaky downspout allowed black ice to accumulate on the sidewalk.
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There is no snow or ice in California. That said, there are equally dangerous conditions both without and within a premises that establishment staff need to keep on top of and ensure hazards are mitigated for the ultimate safety of their patrons. With the population aging, and more restaurants catering to seniors with discounts, it is more important than ever to ensure hazards are mitigated.
While slip and fall attorneys don't mind being busy—especially slip and fall attorneys in California—they would rather not be so at the expense of some poor, innocent patron who walks in for a meal and is carried out on a stretcher. Sadly, so long as such hazards exist, there will always be a need for slip and fall lawyers.