Can I sue a restaurant for a burn? 33 Answers as of May 22, 2013

I went to dinner the other night and the waitress sat a dish down in front of me without telling me that it was hot. I reached over to get the pepper and burned my arm. The manager came out and gave me some burn cream, a bag of ice, and his card. Should I consider suing?

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Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
I don't think it would fly. Imagine sitting on a jury and a guy saying "I burned myself, but it was her fault because she didn't tell me the plate was hot." I doubt that you would return an award.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 9/7/2012
C Meryl Murphy, Attorney-at-Law, LLC
C Meryl Murphy, Attorney-at-Law, LLC | Candace M Murphy
When considering whether or not you should sue, you should consult with an attorney. The consulting attorney will be in a better position to determine what possible claims you may have, as well as, possible damages which may include pain and suffering, lost wages, and other claims.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 9/5/2012
Lapin Law Offices
Lapin Law Offices | Jeffrey Lapin
While you could sue the restaurant the real question is whether you would be successful in your claim. The waitress should have warned you the plate was hot, especially if it was hot enough to cause a significant burn. However, if it was, or should have been, obvious to you that the plate was extremely hot, then you were "on notice" about the plate being hot and either "assumed the risk" or were contributorily at fault by reaching over the hot plate. If it was not obvious nor should you have known how hot the plate was then you have a much better chance of being able to sue and win your claim against the restaurant. Part of whether you knew or should have known of how hot the plate was is what you ordered? In addition, how the waitress was handling the plate would also be relevant. If she was wearing a glove or other protective gear then you might have been on notice about the plate being hot even though she did not say anything. You might want to talk to a personal injury attorney. Most offer a free consultation so it will not cost you anything to learn more about your rights and options.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 9/4/2012
Lombardi Law Firm
Lombardi Law Firm | Steve Lombardi
No, your case isn't one with enough damage to sue.
Answer Applies to: Iowa
Replied: 9/4/2012
Law Office of Ronald G. Draper | Ronald G. Draper
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 5/22/2013
    Law Office of Lisa Hurtado McDonnell | Lisa Hurtado McDonnell
    Did you seek medical care? How much was the doctor bill? Did the doctor recommend any follow up care? Do you have a scar? You need damages before you sue and then you need prove liability (were you at partially at fault?) do you have any witnesses that you were not partly at fault?
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/29/2012
    Lee Law Group | Ernest Lee
    If you are injured yes. They should pay for your medical care, pain, suffering, any loss work wages, etc. The restaurant was negligent if they served you food hot enough to burn your arm. Just think what it would have done to your mouth, your esophagus, or even your stomach lining. WOW! I shudder to think.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/29/2012
    R. D. Kelly Law Firm, P.L.L.C.
    R. D. Kelly Law Firm, P.L.L.C. | Robert Kelly
    The question is whether anybody was negligent (failed to act in the way a reasonably prudent person would have acted). If the restaurant or its employee were negligent, then there is the question of how much the extent of the damage they caused was. Finally, the question arises of whether pursuing the financial remedy is worth the transaction costs.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/29/2012
    Shaw Law Firm
    Shaw Law Firm | Steven L. Shaw
    Making a claim in this case will be limited to what the injury is worth. If the burn was minor, than I would not recommend pursuing it, because the cost in time and money may outweigh what you could recover. If the burn was serious, consult an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/29/2012
    Mosley, Engelman & Jones, LLP
    Mosley, Engelman & Jones, LLP | Britany M. Engelman
    If you injuries are significant or likely to cause scarring, you may wish to consult with an attorney to explore your legal options.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/29/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    Your damages will not cover the cost of the suit unless the burn is much, much more severe than you have implied. See if you can get another dinner on the house.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/29/2012
    Law Office of James J. Rosenberger | James Joseph Rosenberger
    If you're seriously injured then you may want legal advice. Otherwise, I suspect you may be able to resolve it with the restaurant manager by way of medical payment or such other compensation you could agree upon ( restaurant credit) or both. I wouldn't advise a lawsuit absent serious injury which may not be the case here.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/29/2012
    David F. Stoddard
    David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
    Probably not. It doesn't sound as if your injury is severe enough to sue.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 8/29/2012
    Paris Blank LLP
    Paris Blank LLP | Irving M Blank
    It is probably not worth it to file suit. I am doubtful that you could win and you don't seem to have serious injuries. If you did not go to the hospital or Dr. the day of the injury, I would not consider suing.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 8/29/2012
    Victor Varga | Victor Varga
    That's up to you, but it sounds as though you do have a cause of action against the restaurant.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 8/29/2012
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    I cannot imagine any attorney taking such a case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/29/2012
    Law Offices of Maxwell Charles Livingston
    Law Offices of Maxwell Charles Livingston | Maxwell C Livingston
    Yes, if your harm justifies lawsuit.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 8/29/2012
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm | Thomas Bulman
    No. You should have tried to get your entire meal comped. Now is too late. Not enough in damages to hire an atty.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 8/29/2012
    Walpole Law | Robert J. Walpole
    You should consider all options, whether in life or in a legal situation. If you required medical treatment, you should submit the bill to the restaurant. If the burn causes a scar, you should pursue recovery of the cost of the medical treatment and any other compensable loss. If not, well, no scar, no foul.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 8/29/2012
    Koning & Jilek, P.C.
    Koning & Jilek, P.C. | Jonathan Neal Jilek
    It depends on the severity of the burn. Feel free to contact my office.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/29/2012
    Frank Law Group, P.C.
    Frank Law Group, P.C. | Brett E. Rosenthal
    Given that manager gave you his card would assume from that he is aware that their failure to warn you about the hot plate was the cause of your injuries and don't necessarily believe that need to sue initially, but would suggest you treat for your burn and related injuries until you reach a pre-accident status, or health care provider says you are as recovered as you are going to be. At that point, would obtain all your medical records and bills and send a demand to the restaurant's insurance carrier. Before you have completed treatment, contact the manager and ask him for the contact person at their insurance carrier. They may resolve the case before ever having to file suit.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/29/2012
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
    Unless you had to see a doctor and incurred medical bills, or unless you believe you will be permanently scarred from the burn, I would just visit the restaurant manager and tell him you're unhappy, and I'll be they give you a nice gift certificate for a nice meal or two in the future.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/29/2012
    James M. Osak, P.C.
    James M. Osak, P.C. | James M. Osak
    Consider a FREE dinner instead.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/29/2012
    Tucker Griffin Barnes, PC | Yvonne T. Griffin
    You could sue the restaurant. The question is should you. You must ask yourself what your damages are. If you suffered only a minor burn, did not treat with any healthcare provider, filing suit will probably cost more than you would be awarded from the case. Filing suit when your damages are low is usually not economically reasonable, i.e., it costs more than it's worth. If you had a serious burn that required repeated medical treatment, consult a lawyer. Personal injury lawyers generally do not charge for a consultation.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 8/29/2012
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    For what? What are you expecting to get for a slight matter like that? No lawyer will likely take such a case. It will take $10,000 worth of time to sue those people. Are you expecting a jury to give you large dollars for a matter like this?
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 8/29/2012
    Downriver Injury and Auto Law | Michael Heilmann
    You can sue but unless it is a disfiguring burn, you are not likely to get much money.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/29/2012
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