Can I Sue the Restaurant if I am Hurt While Working in the Kitchen?
Working in a restaurant kitchen is an often stressful and fast-paced job that asks a lot of its employees and also exposes them to a number of dangers. Indeed, several studies have shown that restaurants can be particularly dangerous places to work due to the variety of hazards present on the job, including cuts from utilizing sharp utensils like knives, burn injuries related to cooking or deep fryers, exposure to harmful chemicals for cleaning, and slip and fall accidents from wet or greasy floors in the back kitchen, among a range of other possible on-the-job injuries.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has found that nearly half of the injuries reported in the restaurant industry involve burns related to hot grease and cooking, and approximately half of all slip and fall related injuries were caused by greasy or wet floors, but they can also be caused by poorly maintained walking spaces, mats that are doubled over or placed improperly, or even by cluttered walkways in the kitchen.
While those who haven’t worked in a restaurant might assume that it is a relatively safe place to work, those who have been in the industry for a while are fully aware of the many hazards present and have probably even seen a few of their coworkers hurt over the years. But when you find yourself injured for the first time while working in a restaurant kitchen, you may be asking yourself whether you can sue the restaurant or have some means of compensation for your injuries.
The state of New York requires that virtually all employers carry workers’ compensation, which is a form of insurance for on-the-job injuries and is available to you regardless of who was at fault. The benefits of workers’ compensation include payments for lost wages, permanent disability benefits (including things like compensation if you lost part of a finger, for example), and will cover expenses for reasonable and necessary medical care.
As for whether you can sue your employer for your on-the-job injury, the answer is generally no. The nature of the workers’ compensation system is that it provides compensation for injured employees and also provides protection from lawsuits for employers. In some cases, there may exist the possibility of filing a lawsuit against a third-party that was responsible for your injuries, which could apply in the restaurant industry if the accident was caused by a third-party, such as an employee of another company like a repair or cleaning service, a commercial delivery service, or even by a customer who entered the kitchen, or it could apply in instances of third-party liability like if a pressure cooker exploded or another kitchen apparatus malfunctioned. An employer could be directly involved in a potential lawsuit if the accident results in “grave injuries” which may include death, paralysis or brain injury, among others.
If you’ve suffered an on the job injury at a restaurant, you are well within your legal rights to speak to one of our experienced New York workplace accident attorneys at Greenberg & Stein.
After going over the details of your workplace accident, we will walk you step-by-step through the process and ensure that you hold all legally responsible parties accountable for your injury, and we will fight to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
What sets Greenberg & Stein apart from other firms is our devotion to client satisfaction with our personalized service. No matter how big or small the case, we firmly believe that no one should lose money due to medical bills, missed paychecks, or future employment opportunities due to an on-the-job injury.
If you’ve been injured while working in the kitchen, speak to one of our workplace accident attorneys here at Greenberg & Stein right away to discuss whether your case might qualify for additional compensation. Call us today at 888-411-3966 to schedule your free consultation.