More than 100 basketball fans were enjoying dinner overlooking Miami’s North Bay Village while cheering on the Miami Heat against the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals at Shuckers Bar & Grill. The fun Thursday evening took a frightening turn when the sports bar’s deck collapsed, sending the diners into the water of Biscayne Bay. At least 24 people were reported to have been injured, some in critical condition. Questions will undoubtedly be raised as to whether the sports bar, which is connected to a Best Western hotel, may have had too much weight on the deck when taking the 23” flat-screen TVs, tables, equipment, staff and packed crowd into account.
Restaurant accidents are more common than you might think
There are many different types of restaurants, from fast-food franchises to fancy, high-end restaurants. Depending on the situation, a night out at a restaurant is usually an enjoyable experience. However, restaurants are one of the most common locations where accidents can occur. The following are some of the most frequent types of accidents that can happen at a restaurant:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Burns from spilled hot soup or coffee
- Food poisoning
- Being struck by an object, such as a waiter’s serving tray
What you need to know if you were injured in an accident at a restaurant
The owners and operators of a restaurant have a duty under Florida law to keep their restaurants in a reasonably safe condition and to correct any dangerous conditions that they know or should know exist. The restaurant will not be able to claim they did not know about a condition that occurs regularly. When there is a restaurant accident, the ability to hold the restaurant liable depends on the circumstances. The following are important factors to keep in mind if you are injured at a restaurant:
- How long the danger existed – This is particularly important in slip and falls on liquids or other spilled substances.
- Stairs – Many restaurants have stairways without handrails or stairs that are not clearly marked or in a place where you would not expect.
- Lighting – While restaurants often have dim lighting for effect, the absence of sufficient light may contribute to a dangerous condition in many circumstances.
- Florida Department of Health violations – A restaurant with a history of health department violations may be shown to be on notice for a recurring condition.
There are many factors that may be significant if you are injured at a restaurant. It is important to report the accident, get names of witnesses, take photographs and contact a qualified and experienced St. Petersburg personal injury attorney.