How to Sue a Restaurant: a Guide for Personal Injury Claims

No one goes out to eat thinking they’ll suffer an injury or illness due to the negligence of a restaurant. You may not know what to do or where to start if you need to file a legal claim against the restaurant or its property owners.

We explain how a restaurant can be held liable and how to sue a restaurant if you’ve been injured.

What Makes a Restaurant Premises Liability Case?

In the context of restaurant-related injuries, the restaurant owner or property owner may be held liable for injuries sustained by their customers or employees due to their negligence in keeping their premises safe, or negligence in food preparation.

How to Determine if You Have a Valid Premises Liability Claim

To have a valid claim against a restaurant, you must be able to prove the existence of negligence by the restaurant owner or operator in their duties and that their negligence caused your injury.

Factors to Consider When Deciding to Sue a Restaurant or Its Property Owner

Before deciding to sue a restaurant, there are several factors we will help you consider about personal injury cases, including:

  • Severity of your injuries
  • Cost of your medical expenses
  • Your lost wages
  • Monetary damages
  • Impact of the injury on your daily life

Every slip &fall case or personal injury incident is different. Contact us for a free legal consultation.

Steps to Take After an Injury at a Restaurant

If you have suffered an injury at a restaurant, it is important to take certain steps to protect your legal rights and ensure that you recover compensation. Here are the steps you should take:

  1. Seek Medical Attention: The first and most important step after an injury at a restaurant is to seek medical attention. Even if you feel fine at the moment, you should still get checked out by a medical professional, as some injuries may not become immediately apparent. It is important to have documentation of your injuries to support your legal claim.
  2. Report the Incident: Report the incident to the restaurant management. Ask the manager to file an incident report and obtain a copy of the report for your records. If possible, take photos or videos of the scene and gather contact information from any witnesses.
  3. Contact Us: Contact us as soon as possible after the incident. Our Boston premises liability lawyers can help you understand your legal rights, evaluate your damages, and negotiate with the restaurant’s insurance company on your behalf. As skilled attorneys, we guide you through your options and maximize your compensation, ensuring that you receive the justice you deserve.
  4. Do Not Sign Anything: Do not sign any documents or agree to any settlements from the restaurant without first consulting with liability attorneys like Paul Baker and Richard Mandel. Signing a document may release the restaurant from liability, and you may end up receiving less compensation than you deserve.
  5. Keep Detailed Records: Keep detailed records of your medical treatment, expenses, and lost wages. These records will be important damages evidence in your personal injury lawsuit. You should also keep a journal of your recovery progress and the impact of the injury on your daily life.

Different Types of Premises Liability Claims Against a Restaurant

If you have been injured at a restaurant, you may be able to bring a personal injury claim against the restaurant. Here are some common types of personal injury claims that can arise from accidents at restaurants:

  • Slip & Fall Accidents at Restaurants

    Slip & fall accidents can occur when a restaurant fails to maintain a safe environment for customers. This can include a wet floor, uneven flooring, or obstacles in walking paths. Slip & fall accidents can result in serious injuries, such as broken bones, head injuries, and spinal cord injuries.

  • Food Poisoning at Restaurants

    Food poisoning is a common liability claim against restaurants. It can occur when a restaurant serves food that is contaminated or spoiled, causing customers to become sick. Restaurants have a duty to ensure that the food they serve is safe for consumption. If a restaurant fails to properly store, prepare, or cook its food, it can be held liable for any injuries that result.

  • Foreign Objects in Food

    Foreign objects in food, such as metal, glass, or plastic, can cause serious injuries if ingested or swallowed. Restaurants have a duty to ensure that the food they serve is free from foreign objects. If a restaurant serves food that contains foreign objects, it can be held liable for any injuries that result.

  • Burns

    Burns can occur when restaurant employees fail to follow proper safety procedures, such as using hot plates or knives. Burns can result in serious injuries, such as scarring, disfigurement, and nerve damage. Restaurant owners and operators have a duty to ensure that their employees are properly trained and that safety procedures are followed at all times.

  • Cuts

    Cuts can occur when restaurant employees fail to follow proper safety procedures, such as using knives or other sharp objects. Cuts can result in serious injuries, such as nerve damage, infection, and scarring. Restaurant owners and operators have a duty to ensure that their employees are properly trained and that safety procedures are followed at all times.

Addressing Specific Considerations When Suing a Restaurant

Suing restaurants can be a complex process, and dealing with corporate chains or franchise owners can add an extra layer of difficulty. Our Boston premises liability attorneys can help you navigate the process. But here are some specific considerations to keep in mind when pursuing a personal injury lawsuit against a restaurant:

  1. Corporate Chains

    Usually, a quick service restaurant is part of a larger corporate chain that operates multiple locations. When suing a corporate chain, it is important to determine the level of control the chain has over the individual location where the accident occurred. If the chain has significant control over the quick service restaurant location, it may be held liable for any injuries that occur.

    However, if the location is independently owned and operated, the owner may be solely responsible for any injuries.

  2. Franchise Owners

    Franchise owners operate under a licensing agreement with a larger franchisor. When suing a franchise owner, it is important to determine whether the franchisor can be held liable for any injuries that occur on the franchisee’s property.

    Generally, franchisors are not held responsible for the actions of their franchisees, but there are some exceptions to this rule.

  3. Statute of Limitations

    According to Massachusetts law, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is three years from the date of the accident. However, if the restaurant is owned or operated by a government entity, the statute of limitations may be shorter. It is important to file a claim within the statute of limitations to ensure that your case is not dismissed.

  4. Hiring an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

    Dealing with a corporate chain or franchise owner can be challenging, and it is important to hire an attorney that has experience in premises liability cases. An attorney can help you navigate the legal process and ensure that your claim is filed correctly. They can also negotiate with the restaurant or their insurance company to maximize your compensation.

Common Mistakes People Make When Suing a Restaurant and How to Avoid Them

Unfortunately, many people make mistakes that can harm their case and reduce their chances of receiving fair compensation. In this section, we outline some of the most common mistakes people make when suing a restaurant and provide tips on how to avoid them.

  • Waiting Too Long to Take Legal Action

    One of the biggest mistakes people make is waiting too long to take legal action. As we mentioned earlier, Massachusetts imposes a statute of limitations of three years for personal injury claims. Failing to file a claim within this timeframe can result in your case being dismissed.

    Moreover, the longer you wait, the harder it can be to obtain evidence and witnesses to support your case. It is essential to consult with one of the liability attorneys at Baker Law as soon as possible after the incident to protect your legal rights.

  • Failing to Seek Medical Treatment

    Another common mistake people make is failing to seek medical treatment after an accident at a restaurant. Some injuries may not manifest symptoms immediately, but they could still be serious and require medical attention.

    In addition, having medical records associated with the injury can increase the credibility of your case. It will provide the insurance company and restaurant’s legal team with evidence needed to associate your claim with tangible damages. Make sure to seek medical care right away and keep all documentation and medical bills.

  • Giving Recorded Statements or Signing Agreements Without Consulting a Lawyer

    Often, a restaurant’s insurer will contact you shortly after the accident and request a recorded statement or settlement agreement.

    While it may seem innocent, providing such information without consulting us can be a costly mistake.

    The recording can be used against you later, and the settlement offer may be far lower than what you deserve. A lawyer can review the documents and advise you on the proper course of action.

  • Failing to Document the Scene and Injury

    It is crucial to document the scene and injury as soon as possible after the accident. Failing to document the scene and injury can weaken your case significantly.

    Take photos of the scene, the hazard that caused your injury, and any visible injuries. Obtain the contact information of any witnesses present at the time of the accident.

    Keep all receipts, bills, and medical reports related to your treatment.

  • Representing Yourself

    Representing yourself in a personal injury case against a restaurant is a serious mistake. There are many legal complexities involved, and the restaurant will have attorneys working hard to minimize their liability.

    Hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer with a history of successfully litigating cases against restaurants can help you avoid the common mistakes outlined above and improve the chances of receiving fair compensation.


If you have been injured at a restaurant due to the negligence of the restaurant’s owners or employees, you may be entitled to compensation.

It is important to take the right steps to protect your legal rights and increase your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome.

Seeking medical attention, contacting a personal injury attorney, reporting the incident, not signing anything without consulting a lawyer, and keeping detailed records are some of the essential steps you should take after being injured at a restaurant.

Remember, every case is unique, so it’s essential to seek legal guidance to understand your rights and options.

Contact us for a free consultation. We can help you navigate the process and maximize your compensation.