Restaurant Worker Injuries in North Carolina
There are a wide variety of jobs within the food services industry. Someone working as a head chef in a four-star restaurant, for example, has a very different work experience than a young teen working for minimum wage at a fast-food establishment.
Yet, all workers in this sector have some common potential risks that they face and all could potentially get hurt or killed on the job. When a serious injury does occur, it’s important to seek the advice and representation of an experienced North Carolina work injury lawyer.
At Hardison & Cochran, we can review your case and discuss your options, including filing for workers’ compensation and/or a personal injury lawsuit, or a third-party liability claim. We offer this initial consultation for free and without obligation. Learn more by calling us today at (800) 434-8399 or submitting our online contact form. You’ll get a response within 24 hours. We charge no fees unless we obtain monetary compensation for you.
Types of Injuries in Restaurants
The restaurant environment and the specific job that you do within a restaurant determine the risks you face. However, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has prepared a detailed summary of some of the major risks faced by young workers at fast-food restaurants and casual eating establishments. To some extent, these are risks that exist across the entire field and are dangers that every single restaurant employee could encounter. These risks include:
- Injuries caused by lifting or balancing heavy trays or containers of dirty dishes
- Injuries caused by reaching across tables to serve or clear
- Injuries caused by lifting and moving tables and chairs to provide customer seating
- Injuries resulting from workplace violence, including robbery
- Burn or scald injuries from the stove, dishwasher, oven or other appliances, such as deep fryers
- Burns or other injuries caused by faulty electrical appliances or damaged/worn electrical cords or wiring
- Exposure to hazardous chemicals, toxins or car exhaust fumes
- Noise, especially when working at a drive-thru
- Injuries sustained while delivering food products, including injuries caused by auto accidents
These are just a few of the many dangers that can exist in a restaurant workplace and can result in injuries such as:
- Repetitive motion injuries such as strains, sprains and bulging discs
- Burns from appliances, ovens or faulty equipment
- Overexertion injuries, including injuries to the back, shoulders and neck
- Broken bones, usually resulting from slip and falls or workplace violence
- Illnesses due to toxic exposure
- Hearing loss
- Cuts and lacerations
Death can also result from injuries sustained while working in a restaurant.
Options Available for Injured Restaurant Workers
Getting hurt can put an end to your restaurant career, especially if you were badly injured. You may not be able to work at all because of your injuries at a time when you are faced with very high medical bills. Fortunately, the law is designed to ensure that you do not get stuck with the financial costs associated with a work injury.
There are two possible ways that an injured victim can take legal action after a work injury to obtain the money he or she needs and deserves. They are:
Workers’ compensation covers a broad range of injuries, including those sustained off-site when doing required work and illnesses and repetitive stress conditions caused by the job. There is no requirement ever that an employee show that the employer was negligent in order to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Even an employee’s mistake won’t make it impossible to file a workers’ compensation claim.
Once a workers’ compensation claim has been made, the insurance company representing the employer will review the information. If your claim is approved, you will have all of your medical costs arising from the injury covered. If you cannot work, you will receive temporary or permanent disability.
If you can work but not at your old job because of your injuries, you can receive temporary or permanent partial disability benefits to replace some of the money you lost. If the work injury causes death, surviving dependents will be entitled to benefits.
Third-party liability claims
To make a third-party liability claim, someone other than your employer must have been negligent in a way that led to your work injury. If you file a workers’ compensation claim, you are not permitted to sue your employer because workers’ compensation is the only relief available from your employer under the law. This means you will need to identify a non-employer who was to blame if you want to make a third-party liability claim. For example, if you were badly burned by an oven that turned out to be defective, you could potentially file a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the oven.
Third-party liability claims often can be brought in addition to a separate workers’ compensation action.
How a Workplace Injury Attorney Can Help
After a work injury, it is essential that you do everything possible to protect your rights and get the full benefits that you deserve. A North Carolina lawyer can help you to understand and fight for your rights after a restaurant injury.
At Hardison & Cochran, we will assist you with all aspects of your work injury claim, including:
- Collecting and organizing evidence to prove the cause and extent of your injuries
- Filing for workers’ compensation benefits
- Appealing a workers’ compensation benefits denial
- Resolving disputes over workers’ compensation coverage, including whether medical treatment is necessary and/or whether you are able to return to work
- Settling workers’ compensation claim disputes
- Determining if there are any potential third-party defendants
- Filing a lawsuit and presenting your case to obtain damages in a third party case.
Our experienced North Carolina worker injury lawyers will do all of these things and more for you after your work injury occurs. Our goal is to ensure that you are treated fairly and compensated so that you will have the money you need after a work accident.
To learn more about how we can assist you with your claim, give us a call or contact us online today.
- Young Worker Safety in Restaurants, Occupational Safety & Health Administration