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5 Things to Consider When Suing a Restaurant

By Aditi Mukherji, JD on December 05, 2013 2:25 PM

From being a victim of food poisoning to being served "pot sandwiches," "fed up" patrons often wonder when it's appropriate to sue a restaurant.

Here are five questions to ask yourself when considering a lawsuit against a restaurant:

  1. Do the benefits of a lawsuit outweigh the costs? To put it bluntly, a lawsuit will command your time, money, and emotional patience. Since your case is all about making the restaurant pay for your damages, you'll want to carefully tally up your bills, find out how much your case is worth, and determine whether a lawsuit is a strategically smart move or not.
  2. Who owns the restaurant? Your lawsuit won't get very far if you're not suing the right party. Identify who the "usual suspects" are in your case. For example, your target may be a specific individual, a local franchisee, and/or a national chain.
  3. How seriously were you injured? Make sure your injury is serious enough to warrant a lawsuit. If not, you run the risk of having your case deemed a frivolous lawsuit and tossed out of court. One of your first steps should be to write down everything that has happened to you since the incident with the restaurant. This may include things like medical bills, hospital visits, any lost work or wages, etc.
  4. What exactly are you suing over? To prevail in a personal injury case, you need a recognizable legal claim. For example, common causes of action in the restaurant context include food poisoning, negligent hiring, supervision or training, or premises liability.
  5. Did you seek immediate medical attention? If you fell ill or were hurt at the restaurant, then you should head to the doctor's office soon to get a professional opinion on your health. The doctor's comments on your injuries will carry more evidentiary weight than your own in most cases.

For extra guidance on whether you have a "good case," you may want to consult an experienced personal injury attorney near you.

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