Slip-and-Fall Case Against Fast-Food Restaurant Permitted to Proceed to Trial

Earlier this month, an appellate court in Mississippi issued an opinion in a personal injury case involving a slip-and-fall accident that occurred at a fast-food restaurant. As is often the case in Washington, D.C. slip-and-fall accidents, this case required the court to determine if the evidence presented by the plaintiff was sufficient to survive a summary judgment challenge by the defendant restaurant.

Ultimately, the court concluded that the evidence gave rise to several factual issues that, if resolved in the plaintiff’s favor, could result in the restaurant being liable for the plaintiff’s injuries. Thus, the case was permitted to proceed toward trial or settlement negotiations.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was dining at the defendant fast-food restaurant with several family members. After he placed his order, the plaintiff began to walk back toward his table. On the way, the plaintiff thought he heard an employee call his name, and he turned around. As he did so, he tripped on the leg of a highchair that was obscured by a “half wall.” Restaurant employees came to the plaintiff’s aid and noticed that his legs were tangled in the legs of the highchair.

An eyewitness to the fall testified that the restaurant’s highchairs were narrow on the top and wide at the bottom, and the way they were positioned behind the half wall made it difficult to see that they protruded into the walkway. The eyewitness explained that she thought the highchairs were a “big hazard.”

An employee for the risk-management company that handled the restaurant’s video surveillance testified that there was a camera pointing directly where the plaintiff fell, but to the best of his knowledge, the video no longer existed. However, the witness explained that he did not know for certain what happened to the tape, and it may have been in the restaurant’s control.

The Defense Motion for Summary Judgment

The restaurant moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff failed to present evidence that the highchair was a hazard and that the restaurant employees knew about the hazard. The trial court granted the restaurant’s motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

On appeal, the lower court’s decision was reversed in favor of the plaintiff. The court explained that the eyewitness testimony established that the highchairs may have been improperly stored too near a walkway, and based on storing the chairs in this way, a jury may find that the restaurant was negligent. The court also explained that further information was needed to determine whether the video of the fall exists and, if so, where it is. Due to the court’s ruling, the plaintiff’s case will now proceed toward trial or settlement negotiations.

Have You Been Injured in a Washington, D.C. Slip-and-Fall Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Washington, D.C. slip-and-fall accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your injuries, you may be entitled to compensation for your past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and any pain and suffering you endured as a result of the accident. To learn more, and to speak with a dedicated Washington, D.C. personal injury attorney about your case, call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation today.

More Blog Posts:

Court Permits Slip-and-Fall Plaintiff’s Case to Proceed Toward Trial, Based on Improperly Maintained Artificial Condition, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, December 18, 2017

Court Finds Church Does Not Have Duty to Assist Parishioners from Parking Lot into Church, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, December 4, 2017

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