Involved in a Pub or Bar Accident?
An accident in a pub or bar can be caused by a number of things and can cause injuries to both staff and customers. These public liability claims can be quite complex and it may be advisable to speak with a solicitor if you are thinking about making a claim.
Whether you were a customer of the pub or a staff member, it may be possible to make a claim for negligence against the owner of the pub, if it is shown that the cause of the accident was a direct result of the owner/manager/staff negligence towards hazards such as broken glass or spillage that was not attended to, for example.
All business owners are required to show a duty of care for both their employees and customers. However, it is also important to realise that the staff of a pub need to be allowed the appropriate amount of time to identify and see to a spillage or broken glass on the floor, this is an important aspect of making a claim.
For a claim against a pub or bar, it must be shown that the bar failed to provide adequate warnings of slippery floors, did not attend to spillages in an appropriate amount of time, did not provide a safe environment for customers/staff or acted negligently in some other form.
Who is Liable?
If you have been injured in a pub or bar accident and have decided that you want to make a claim then you will need to determine who was at fault for the accident. In order to proceed with a claim, the accident must have been caused by somebody else who acted in a negligent manner. If you were the main cause of the accident then you will not be entitled to pursue a claim for the injuries you sustained as a result.
There can be a number of people responsible for an accident in a pub or bar. In general, most claims are made against the manager or occupier of the pub who failed to have adequate health and safety measures in place. An occupier has a responsibility to ensure that both staff and visitors to the premises are kept safe and their safety should be their first priority. They also need to ensure that they provide staff with the necessary training needed in order to carry out the job correctly and minimise the risk of accidents happening.
Accidents can also be caused by employees who failed to act efficiently. They have not have cleaned up a spillage as quickly as they should or may not have ensured that there were no hazards on the ground which may lead to a potential injury.
Other members of the public may also have caused the accident if they acted in a negligent manner. It is important to note that it is not just an owner who has a duty of care but also all those who visit the pub or bar at any time. Members of the public have a duty of care to both employees and other customers to act in a way which does not put the safety of others at risk.
Common Pub or Bar Accident Injuries
A pub or bar accident can cause a serious injury whether you have an accident at work or sustain an injury while you are a customer in a pub or bar. Some common types include:
Common Causes of Pub or Bar Accidents*
Generally, the pub or bar environment is one of low lighting, alcohol affected people and large numbers of people, this means that the potential hazards and the possibility for an accident to happen can become increased, meaning that the staff of the pub need to be on the look-out at all times to prevent any accidents.
Common causes include:
- Spillages left for an inappropriate amount of time
- Wet floor without adequate signage
- Broken or defective furniture
- Broken glass left on the floor
- Poor lighting
- Poorly prepared food or drink
- Food spillages
- Poor staff training
- Manual handling injuries (lifting heavy objects)
- Slip, trip or fall hazards
- Wet floor without adequate warnings
It is imperative that spillages are cleaned up immediately from the floors and wet floor signs are put in place to help prevent people from falling. In events where a spillage was not cleaned up, or a wet floor sign was not in place whilst or just after cleaning a spillage, the pub or bar could be seen to be liable for the accident. Toilet areas can be particularly dangerous if they are tiled and the tiles become wet. If not cleaned or a wet floor sign was not in place, people may fall and injure themselves.
Tripping and Falling
Tripping and falling accidents are common in cases where a pub or bar has poor lighting, uneven floors or badly maintained walkways. In some cases, a staff member may leave an object out on the floor which would act as an obstruction to a person’s pathway causing them to trip and fall.
Lack of Training in Manual Handling and Health and Safety
This is generally an accident associated with pub or bar employees who have not received the adequate training in relation to manual handling. All employers should ensure that all of their staff have the correct training to carry out their job. Incorrect manual handling can lead to injury which may leave the injured person out of work for a period of time.
Faulty or Broken Furniture and Equipment
As pubs or bars are used by a large number of people, furniture may become broken quicker due to more wear and tear. If bar/restaurant furniture is not updated regularly it can become faulty causing injury and accidents. Broken furniture can collapse suddenly causing back injuries and broken bones.
Food poisoning is a common illness which is caused by eating contaminated foods. Also known as foodborne illness, it can have serious consequences as it weakens the general health of a person, especially if symptoms persist. Pubs or bars must serve food at a certain standard, one that is prepared in the correct manner, stored in the correct manner and fit for human consumption. There are basic hygiene requirements that are expected of a pub or bar when these basic requirements are not met, this can affect the customers eating the food. Cross contamination is a common cause of food poisoning, whereby raw meat is stored with cooked food. In these situations, bacteria from the raw meat can contaminate the cooked food, which can lead to food poisoning.
Common causes of food poisoning are:
- Unhygienic kitchen facilities
- Kitchen equipment that is not cleaned properly or regularly
- Untrained kitchen staff
- Inexperienced staff handling food
What do I do if I'm involved in a pub or bar accident?
Following an accident in a pub or bar, there are a number of steps you should follow:
Seek medical attention
Your health is your wealth and should be your first priority. Immediately after an accident, take a second to assess yourself to determine if you have any injuries. Then check if anybody else involved in the accident needs medical attention. If anybody has sustained a serious injury, ensure that you contact an ambulance to attend the scene.
You must remember that minor injuries where you ‘feel fine’ could progress to a more serious injury in the future. In this case, it is always better to be safe than sorry and advisable that you go to your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) or local GP to be checked out.
Report the accident
It is important that you report the accident to management. You may be required to assist to fill in an accident form. This is to provide them details of how the accident occurred and details of the injury. You should also request that they preserve any CCTV footage.
Identify any witnesses
Collect contact details of any witnesses to the accident – their names and contact information.
Document the incident
It is important that you collect all the relevant information in connection with your accident:
- How the accident happened, time and date of the accident.
- Details of any witnesses to the accident (Including staff and other customers); their names, contact information.
- If there are any CCTV recordings of the accident.
- Take pictures from different angles of where the accident happened and what caused you to slip, trip or fall.
- Take pictures of any injuries you suffered, this will help your solicitor to understand how the accident happened.
Speak to a personal injury solicitor
If you are considering moving forward with an accident claim for any personal injuries sustained, it is advisable that you speak with a public accident claims solicitor as soon as possible. If you are proceeding with a claim, the first step will be submitting your claim to the Injuries Board for assessment. A personal injury solicitor can help you in preparing your application to the Injuries Board and ensure that you follow the process in the correct format, meaning that you can move forward with your claim quickly without unnecessary delays.
It is important to remember to keep copies of any expenses that you have incurred as a result of the accident. It is also imperative to retain copies of medical reports or incident report forms where possible as you will need them when making a claim.