• Slip and Fall at a Burger King

I received the following question via email this morning. It concerns a slip and fall on a wet floor at a Burger King that resulted in some fractures for a man who already had two hip replacements. The man’s wife wanted to know how they should proceed. It thought you might find the question and answer helpful.

Question: My husband slipped and fell at a Burger King.  There was no sign that the floor was wet.  Earlier this year, he had both his hips replaced.  He immediately went to his surgeon who took X-rays.  The implants are great but he has cracked a bone by the implants.  They want to wait a month to see if he will need surgery.  The manager was there when he fell and he contacted him right after the X-rays.  The manager told him to call corporate tomorrow.  To say the least this is the worst thing that could have happened to him. Not sure how to proceed of if we should?

Here is how I answered the woman:

I am sorry to hear about your husband’s fall and the ordeal it has created. You are already doing what is best for your husband. (He’s fortunate to have you looking out for him). Make sure he receives the necessary medical attention. From your description, the doctors may want the swelling to subside and to see how the cracked bone naturally heals before determining if your husband needs surgery. Make sure to ask the doctors if your husband should avoid certain physical activities and ask if your husband would benefit from physical therapy. Your husband may also benefit from taking anti-inflammatory and anti-pain medication. Your doctor will know best.

I take it that you notified the manger of the Burger King when the accident happened. It is important to make an incident report with the business. It may have been nice of the local manager to call you to ask how your husband was doing. However, he was wrong to tell you to call Burger King corporate headquarters. Frankly, that is his job.

Based on your description, your husband may be entitled to compensation from Burger King for the damages he suffered due to their negligence. That compensation could include payment for all medical expenses and payment for the pain and suffering your husband has and may endure due to this fall.

I recommend that you consult a local personal injury attorney with experience handling slip and fall cases. If you live in the New York metropolitan area, I would be glad to assist you (you can call me at 1-800-660-1466 or email me at carol@schlittlaw.com). If you live elsewhere, you can contact your local bar association for a referral or contact me and I can help you find an attorney.

The consultation with an attorney should be free. An attorney can help assess your case and advise you on the best way to proceed. Your attorney can also handle all communications with Burger King for you. I would speak to a lawyer before speaking to anyone from Burger King again. A lawyer would know how best to protect your husband’s interest.

What Else Can You Do in a Slip and Fall Case?

You can help your case by gathering as much information about the incident and accident scene as soon as possible. These steps include:

  • Write down the exact address and location of the Burger King where this incident happened.
  • Write down the names of any witnesses. If store employees came to help your husband and you do not know their names, write down a description of what they looked like. Write down what they did and said. For example, perhaps the manager came to help your husband get up while another employee put up signs at that floor was wet. If you knew anyone else in the Burger King at the time, it would be helpful to have their names even if they did not see your husband fall.
  • Did you take any pictures of the accident scene? If not, can you go back and take pictures of exactly where your husband fell?  .
  • Write down any notes about the accident. What happened right before the accident? Describe how the accident happened.

By gathering this information now, you will help an attorney assess your case. It is also to write the information down before you forget anything. In cases like this, I like to visit the scene of the incident with my client to make sure that I understand exactly how the incident occurred and to prepare the best possible prosecution of the case. 

Proving a Slip and Fall Case

From the information you shared in your email, you have may have a case against the local Burger King for causing your husband’s fall and his injuries.

To bring and win a slip and fall lawsuit, you generally need to meet two criteria. I practice personal injury law in New York, so I will discuss what New York requires:

  • You need to prove that the Burger King caused or knew about a dangerous condition and that dangerous condition caused your slip and fall.
  • You need to prove that you suffered damages because of their negligence.

In this case, the Burger King may have created the dangerous situation – the wet floor – and acted negligently by failing to warn customers of the dangerous condition. It would help if we could learn how the floor became wet (e.g., from mopping, a spilled drink, etc.) and did the manager or staff at the Burger King know of the wet floor. Answering those questions will determine Burger King’s liability.

 From your description, the fall cracked one of your husband’s bones and he may now require surgery. He certainly must be enduring some pain and discomfort due to the fall. You will need medical records and the testimony of your husband’s doctor to prove the connection between your husband’s fall and his injuries. Consulting with a personal injury attorney will help you better assess your case and determine how best to move forward.

I hope you found this information helpful. If you have additional questions, feel free to contact me directly. You can call me at 1-800-660-1466 or email me at carol@schlittlaw.com.

I wish you and your husband well and hope he has a complete and rapid recovery.

Carol L. Schlitt
New York Personal Injury Attorney