Written by Jacqueline A. Small, B.A. LL.B

Restaurant liability for customer injuries can result in significant money awards. Failure to provide warning signs can result in monetary compensation to the injured. Poor maintenance will also expose the restaurant owner to liability.

A restaurant owes a duty to take reasonable care that customers on its premises are safe. Most restaurants have a system in place to ensure their customers’ safety. This may include having regular inspections. This reduces hazards which could cause a slip and fall accident.

Restaurant owners and operates could be liable if:

  • There is no system that existed at the time of the injury;
  • The system that was in place was not followed;
  • A customer suffers a physical or mental injury.

Warning Signs: A Case Study

Restaurant liability for a slip and fall injury was considered in the BC case of Owens v. Steveston Waterfront Properties, 2019 BCSC 746.

The 61 year-old injured claimant slipped and fell outside of the restaurant when walking down a ramp with a small incline on the boardwalk. Although the wooden planks of the boardwalk looked dry, they were clearly damp. As a result of the fall, she fractured her patella when she landed on her knee.

There was no sign warning of the potential slipping hazard outside the restaurant. However, other businesses in neighbouring boardwalks had warning signs for the slipping hazard. There was furthermore no regular inspection system in place. The regular annual power washing had not taken place in the year of the slip and fall accident.

The judge found that the restaurant was liable for failing to put up a caution sign. Had there been a sign, the claimant would have been dissuaded her from taking the ramp.

The judge awarded the injured claimant the following:

Pain and Suffering: $80,000

Past Loss of Income:$10,450

Out of Pocket Expenses:$1,101.32

In-trust Claim:$2,500

Loss of Housekeeping Capacity:$5,000

Total: $99,051.32

Learn more about slip and fall injury claims.

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