The customer is suing the national restaurant chain and its franchise after he alleges what began as a casual lunch with a co-worker ended with his suffering significant hearing loss and damage to his ear. He asserts a shard of glass became lodged in his ear after there was reportedly an “explosion” of dishes in the kitchen that sent glass fragments flying into the dining room – and right to where he was seated.
It’s been reported that the “explosion” was caused when steaming hot plates, fresh out of the sanitizing dishwasher, were sprayed by an employee with cold water. The reaction of heat and cold caused the plates to shatter, the plaintiff says, with pieces of glass spewing in all directions.
The plaintiff said not only has he suffered hearing loss, but also he pulled a muscle while reacting to the force of the explosion.
However, the restaurant denies the plaintiff was even injured – or if he was, the cause was not the restaurant worker’s negligence in rinsing dishes.
A restaurant representative said attorneys have video showing the plaintiff was returning from the restroom when a plate was dropped and shattered in the food preparation area. However, the restaurant says that at no time was the plaintiff in the area where the plate was dropped, and the video does not show the plaintiff reacting the way one might expect if his ear had been suddenly pierced with glass.
The plaintiff is seeking damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and mental anguish, asserting losses of more than $10,000.
In any personal injury lawsuit, actual injury is an imperative element.
In order to prevail on a claim, the elements of negligence that have to be proven are:
- The defendant owed a duty of care;
- The defendant breached that duty;
- The defendant’s breach of duty caused the accident; and
- The accident caused the plaintiff to suffer compensable injuries.
So let’s say, for example, a plaintiff is able to show that a store owner mopped the floor, the store didn’t put up a sign indicating the floor was wet, it wasn’t obvious the floor was wet, and a customer slipped and fell on the wet ground. This would seem to be a very clear-cut case of negligence on the store’s part. However, unless the plaintiff could show that the fall resulted in some type of injury that caused losses – expenses for medical treatment, lost wages for being forced to take time off work, etc. – he or she will not be able to win the case.
In the case of the diner and the exploding dish, the defendant is disputing nearly every element of the plaintiff’s claim. Although there is no dispute that the restaurant owed the plaintiff a duty of care because the plaintiff was a business invitee, the defendant is disputing that it breached that duty or that there even was an accident as the plaintiff described or that the plaintiff suffered any injuries (or if he did, it wasn’t due to the defendant’s actions).
If the video indeed is as the restaurant describes, the plaintiff may have an uphill battle in proving his claim. It’s imperative in any injury case to consult with an experienced attorney to help carefully consider possible advantages and challenges.
Contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.
Waffle House responds to lawsuit, says ‘exploding’ dishes did not injure diner, March 2, 2017, Staff Report, Fox News
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