I slipped on food on the floor in a restaurant and broke my ankle. Is there any benefit to using a solicitor to pursue a claim for compensation?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

A personal injury claim for having slipped on food on the floor in a restaurant can be processed directly through the Injuries Board; however most restaurant accident victims choose to pursue compensation for their injuries with the assistance of a personal injury solicitor. Claiming compensation for having slipped on food on the floor in a restaurant can be complicated, as collecting evidence of negligence can be difficult. The assistance of a solicitor can be invaluable in this regard.

One of the main problems with this type of personal injury claim is that it is often not possible to obtain evidence of the actual hazard which caused the slip and fall. When a slip on food on the floor in a restaurant occurs, the restaurant staff are usually quick to clean up the hazard which caused the slip. Hazards such as food left on the floor in a restaurant will not remain for long following a restaurant slip and fall, even though cleaning up the food on the floor may not have been a priority in a busy restaurant prior to an accident.

In order for you to claim for having slipped on food on the floor in a restaurant you must be able to establish not only that the hazard had existed and was the reason why you slipped and fell, but also that the food on the floor represented negligence on the part of the restaurant owner. Accidents do happen, and food being dropped on the floor does not necessarily mean that there has been negligence, even if it results in a restaurant slip and fall.

Since there must have been negligence in order for a claim for restaurant slip injury compensation to be possible, you may need to establish that the food had been left on the floor for an unreasonable period of time or that the floor was dirty and dangerous. There is no fixed time period for cleaning up food on the floor, which is why establishing negligence in support of your claim for having slipped on food on the floor in a restaurant can be complicated.

Proving that a restaurant slip occurred due to the negligence of the restaurant owner may require evidence to be supplied by witnesses. Although witness statements can be taken by the claimant, obtaining a sworn statement from a member of staff or a restaurant customer that you slipped on food on the floor in a restaurant is best handled by a solicitor; especially if your dining partner was the main witness to the accident.

Regardless of whether you decide to use a solicitor to pursue a claim for having slipped on food on the floor in a restaurant, you should consult a solicitor for legal advice. Your claim will be assessed free of charge, you will be advised of your legal rights and will have the strength of your claim assessed. After receiving legal advice you can decide whether to pursue a restaurant slip injury claim personally through the Injuries Board or use a solicitor to do so.