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What Are the Legal Rights of a Child Injured at a Restaurant?


At most restaurants in New York and throughout the country, children are welcome guests. When operating and managing a restaurant, it is important for the management and staff to pay attention to the needs of children as well as any dangers that may be present to a child that may not be a danger to an adult. At a restaurant, the business has a duty to act in a reasonable and safe manner. If there is a dangerous condition on the premises, the staff has a duty to correct the problem or at least put warning signs / cones around the area of danger. When serving food, it is important that the staff act in a reasonable and safe manner. At times, food is spilled, especially hot food, which, in turn, causes serious injuries to an adult or child customer of the restaurant.

An incident that took place in Queens, New York demonstrates how a  brief moment it takes for a nice outing at a restaurant can turn into a tragedy. It was reported that a seventeen-month-old baby sustained severe burns when scalding hot water fell on him at a restaurant after a waiter placed a cup containing hot water on the family’s table. The heat of the water stripped the skin off of a large portion of the baby’s stomach. It also fell onto his arms and legs. Furthermore, news reports indicate that restaurant employees initially tried to get ointment and napkins for the burns, so no one called 911 until over twenty minutes after the injury.

The burn injuries sustained by the little boy in Queens exemplify just one of the many ways that children may sustain injuries in a restaurant. Other common types of injuries to children in restaurants are: bruises and broken bones from falling out of booths, chairs, booster seats, and high chairs; lacerations and cuts from knives left near a child; injuries in play lands, play grounds, or play structures on the property of a restaurant; and slip and fall injuries from unclean surfaces or other hazards in the restaurant.

Though most injuries to children in restaurants remain largely preventable when restaurants follow safety procedures and take proper precautions, accidents happen and injuries to children dining or playing at a restaurant still occur. In the unfortunate event a child does sustain injuries at a restaurant, the child and his or her parents may be able to bring an insurance claim or a lawsuit against the restaurant for the injuries suffered by the child. For instance, a restaurant must maintain a clean and safe environment for its customers to dine in, so if the employees of a restaurant knowingly ignore and fail to clean up some liquid spilled on the floor, the restaurant will likely be liable for the injuries of a child who slips and falls in the puddle of liquid. This is because restaurants owe their patrons a duty of care, so injuries caused by the reckless or negligent conduct of the restaurant and / or its employees breach this duty and may entitle the injured parties to financial compensation. However, every case is different, so parents of a child who sustains injuries in a restaurant should consult an Experienced Child Injury Attorney for advice relevant to their specific situation.

David Wolf is an experienced personal injury attorney with over 28 years of experience. He is the author of 11 books and over 4,000 articles that focus on personal injury and safety issues.  Attorney David Wolf firmly believes in Giving a Voice to Injury Victims and Their Families.  The book titled The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Day Care Center Injuries, Store and Shopping Center Injuries, and other topics.  You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

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