Texas Restaurant Must Pay Out in Slip and Fall Case
Slip and fall cases can be tricky. Is the victim at fault or is the business owner liable due to negligence? Every case is different and there are no clear-cut laws defining when a business owner is negligent, but a recent court case in Texas ruled in favor of an injured restaurant employee.
An appeals court recently ruled that a restaurant must pay a worker more than $100,000 for injuries sustained in a slip and fall incident. The court upheld the trial court’s decision, forcing Wok This Way to pay their employee $73,429.94 for medical expenses. The victim received an additional $30,000 for emotional expenses, including $12,000 for physical impairment, $12,000 for pain and suffering and $6,000 for mental anguish.
The incident occurred when the employee was working at Wok This Way. He was getting soup from a cooler to prepare it for a customer when he slipped and fell on a wet floor. He suffered pain to his neck and head immediately after the fall. He also developed several other medical conditions that made him unable to work.
The restaurant did not have workers’ compensation insurance, as Texas does not require it for employers. This meant that the employee could not recover workers’ compensation benefits, so he sued Wok This Way for premises liability and negligent activity.
Wok This Way filed a summary judgment motion on both claims, allowing the judge to make a final decision without a full trial. Summary judgment was granted on the negligent activity claim, and it was dismissed with prejudice. However, the court proceeded with a bench trial on the premises liability claim. The court ultimately ruled in favor of the injured employee, awarding him more than $103,000 in damages.
Wok This Way appealed the decision, arguing that the restaurant did not owe the employee any duty under Texas law based on the claim that the wet floor was apparently obvious and the employee should have known not to walk on it or he should have at least known the risks involved. The appeals court disagreed, ruling that the restaurant did owe the employee a duty in this case. Under the circumstances, it was necessary for the man to use the wet floor so he could access the cooler as part of his work duties. Wok This Way should have anticipated that the employee could not avoid it. It was necessary for the employee to access the floor so he could perform his job functions and under Texas law, the employer had an obligation to make the work environment safe.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
Slips and falls are common in the workplace, but they can happen anywhere. If someone’s negligence caused you to suffer injuries, seek legal help right away.
The Houston slip and fall lawyers at The West Law Office, PLLC can help you obtain compensation for damages caused by a slip and fall incident. To schedule a free consultation, fill out the online form or call 281-347-3247.