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Feb 2, 2009 10:31 PM

Have you ever been injured in a restaurant?

I had a very bad fall (stepped on a Dum Dum sucker) and fell on a cement floor. I'm very disappointed by the lack of response from the management of a small but very successful fast food restaurant that opened across from where I live.

What is standard operating procedure in the restaurant business for non-food injuries? There was no accident report made. I asked to speak to the manager and was told that he had to leave for an "emergency" at one of the other stores and was offered a free dinner.

I hadn't heard from him so I stopped in to follow up with him, he was there and said he thought the assistant had "taken care" of it--because she gave me a free dinner!?

Thanks in advance for your input.

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  1. They absolutely should have written up an accident report.
    I'd contact headquarters of this chain & file directly.

    I certainly hope your injuries were not serious.
    If you have incurred medical expenses, make sure to keep receipts.

    1. That does sound awful...

      1. Kate, can we chalk it up to the (young) age of the employee/manager involved, that they didn't realize a fall can be serious?
        If there are medical bills to be dealt with, I would think calmly presenting them their copies and requesting the address of the regional office that will reimburse you would go a long way towards making the situation clear to them.
        If there are no medical bills, then what more do you want, beyond a free meal? How would an accident report help?

        8 Replies
        1. re: saacnmama

          Accident reports are simply a way to document what happened. It doesn't mean that the person is looking for freebies, but in documenting these types of accidents and sharing them with corporate, it enables everyone in the company to see what can be improved upon. OSHA isn't a joke.

          Next time it might not be a simple slip and fall - it could be an elderly person that slips and slams their head into the counter... then 24 hours later they die at the hospital from pressure on the brain from bleeding. I'm being a little graphic, but I'm not exaggerating, these things happen.

          I'm with the others that corporate should be notified of the incident and your displeasure with the local management's handling of the event. Again, it doesn't mean you're looking for handouts it just means you want them to know about it.

          1. re: HaagenDazs

            I have tried to contact corporate and have been stonewalled by them. I wasn't really happy about the "free meal" at the time because I know there is no such thing as a "free lunch."

            HD is right; (without getting into the physics of why stepping on a ball shaped sucker is worse than stepping on a disc shaped sucker) and besides the elderly person in that scenario, if had happened to a near term pregnant woman, the injuries to her baby could have been devastating. By the way, if you are lucky enough to have health insurance, even if they pay the bill upfront, they expect to be reimbursed for injuries caused by a third party.

            From this experience, it's made me wonder if people realize they are entering this place at their own peril.

            1. re: Kate is always hungry

              Kate, first I am sorry about your fall and hope you're not injured.

              You say "From this experience, it's made me wonder if people realize they are entering this place at their own peril."

              I would say you enter at your own peril wherever you go. A fall can happen anywhere, whether you trip on a rug in a friends home, on a wet floor in a hair salon or on spilled food in a restaurant. Ultimately it's the response of management/corporate that matters.

              I would send a detailed letter , return receipt, to corporate expressing your worries. Past that, if you were not injured I don't know what else you can do, except enjoy the free meal.

              If you are injured, that's what lawyers are for.

              1. re: Axalady

                I don't think it's a matter of injury or compensation, but how corporate handles safety in the workplace.

                Obviously they are trying to avoid any lawsuits by not replying to Kate, replying and apologizing might be akin to saying they were at fault in the accident, but that's just a guess.

                1. re: Axalady

                  Thanks Axalady. If I weren't injured the free meal would have been a nice gesture. The way I felt after the fall that evening, I hardly touched it. When I can't eat, something is wrong! I'm sending the letter tomorrow.

              2. re: HaagenDazs

                OK, from the perspective of preventing future falls I can see your point, but I'm not as optimistic as you that the management would actually change anything (I presume they don't intentionally strew dum-dums on the floor) because of a report.
                I had been thinking of a report as being required to get insurance to pay for medical bills.

                1. re: saacnmama

                  The restaurant may already have a decent plan in place to avoid falls. If someone walks around the restaurant in close-set intervals to check for spills/dropped items and cleans up any reported problems in the interim, I think that's all that can reasonably be expected. If at that point, someone drops a lollipop and a minute later someone slips on it, it doesn't make sense to blame the restaurant. The restaurant staff isn't omniscient.

                  1. re: queencru

                    I agree with the above 2 posts, but do know that ALL accidents are preventable. The 2 most recent things that come to my mind are the Savannah, GA area sugar refinery blast and the peanut butter situation. They are 2 different and very severe scenarios, but obviously both of them were not adhering to safety rules. By learning about and striving towards an accident free workplace, you become a better company and not only protect your employees but the public as well.



            2. Many years ago a friend worked for a fast food national chain restaurant. According to her all employees were carefully trained to "minimize" attention to patrons who suffered accidents. They were to ask if the person needed medical attention and not much else. They were NOT to comp any food, and they were NEVER to apologize. The rationale? In compensating with free food or in making an apology they were admitting to liability for the accident, liability backed by very deep pockets.

              2 Replies
              1. re: KaimukiMan

                A waiter once dropped a cupcake on my foot. Does that count?

                1. re: beevod

                  You mean that brand new pair of white suede Manolos? The ones you will never be able to get the pink frosting stain off? You betcha! And an extra pair for emotional distress, after all you were so verklempt that you blew that big interview, cost you hundreds of thousands over the next 5 years in lost income. The least they could do is buy you a couple of pair of shoes, matching handbags perhaps?

              2. Sorry to hear about your injury. I fell down a narrow flight of stairs in a restaurant on my way to the restroom over 2 years ago and still have the lump on my bum to prove it. My foot just slipped and I went down about 4-6 steps in the middle of the stairwell. It completely winded me and I was in so much pain I didn't really know what to do. Eventually I made it to the loo, took a few deep breaths, and rejoined my husband upstairs. If I hadn't told him about it, no one would have known.

                It never occurred to me to tell the restaurant - I just figured it was bad luck. Practically every restaurant in London has a restroom at the bottom of a perilously narrow stairwell. I iced it for several days until it became apparent that the lump wasn't going anywhere. I never went to the doctor because I doubted they could do anything. Long story short, I was just glad I hadn't hit myself one inch to the left, or I could very well have had a major spinal injury (in which case, thinking about it, I probably would have involved the restaurant.)

                I guess it depends on the severity of the injury. Mine was insignificant enough that I didn't think it needed to be mentioned. But significant enough to have deformed my bum! Hope you get over yours soon...

                3 Replies
                1. re: WTBD

                  Frankly your story is a little different. You fell on your own, not because of negligence on the part of the restaurant/venue. Also, what kind of shoes were you wearing?

                  1. re: HaagenDazs

                    Yes and no... I fully agree that I fell on my own, wearing sensible flats and taking my time going down the stairs. It was a complete fluke that my foot slipped and I fell.

                    On the other hand, you say that 'ALL accidents are preventable' - there's not much more that either the restaurant or I could have done to prevent my foot from slipping. If memory serves, I was even using the handrail.

                    Was the restaurant negligent? I don't think so - unless you count having a narrow stairwell as a preventable hazard, which is, at best, a stretch. So no negligence on their part.

                    But I do still have a permanent reminder of the event. Should the restaurant have done something about it? Probably not... but then:

                    How is my experience different from danhole's (see below), except that I didn't get special treatment since no one saw me fall? I'm not complaining - the last thing I wanted was a free meal and I fully recognised that it was my fault. I still wonder, though, what would have happened if I had been seriously injured. I would hope they would do what danhole's resto did, and call an ambulance at the very least...

                    As for Kate, I hope she feels better and gets the compensation she's seeking.

                  2. re: WTBD

                    where did the OP mention they had an injury? They fell, got back up. did I miss something?