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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Toddler created restaurant mayhem any legal responsibility here?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26798points) February 2nd, 2011

Say you are at a restaurant and a woman is letting her toddler run about rather than sitting in a seat waiting for the food to come. As a server is passing carrying a hot liquidity dish the child trips on the leg of someone who doesn’t see the toddler but was getting more comfortable in their seat. The child then stumbles into the server and the hot liquidity dish goes down the back of a diner having a meal. They suffer 1st and 2nd degree burns from the dish. Because it happened in the restaurant and by the server spilling the dish is the restaurant responsible for the medical bills of the injured diner, the person who unintended tripped the toddler, or the toddler’s parents for letting them run about loosely supervised? Of is the diner just piss out of luck and has to handle it through their own coverage? Any ideals of legal responsibility here?

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11 Answers

downtide's avatar

This is a very complex issue that would probably have to be fought over in a court case. Personally I feel that responsibility should fall with the parents for allowing the toddler to run about. But legally I expect it will end with the restaurant owners, who will no doubt slap a “No children allowed” sign on their door shortly after losing the case. Most restaurants would have a fairly hefty 3rd-party insurance policy anyway.

LuckyGuy's avatar

If this occurred in the US, the answer is simple; the entity with the deepest pockets will be sued.

(Note the semicolon usage.)

jca's avatar

I don’t think i have ever seen a restaurant that did not allow children.

downtide's avatar

@jca I think it will happen, if lawsuits of the sort described in the OP become more common

marinelife's avatar

In reality, it is going to be the restaurant who pays even though the fault belongs to the parents who allowed their toddler to run loose.

If the hot soup has spilled on the toddler, they would be the ones screaming.

WasCy's avatar

I think any way you look at it the restaurant will be found to be ‘at fault’.

This would probably happen in any number of ways:
1. They didn’t ask the parents to control the toddler, or were ineffective in their requests, or didn’t make allowance for the child. At worst, they didn’t eject the unruly family when they failed to control their child.

2. The server was carrying more than he or she could safely control, and the presence of the child was only incidental, and not causative of the accident.

3. The serving method is inadequate to be handled safely, or the dining area is too crowded.

4. Finally, the restaurant owner has assets, namely: the establishment itself.

jca's avatar

@downtide: the situation described by the OP was hypothetical, as he began with “Say you are at a restaurant…..”

Judi's avatar

Usually you sue everyone and let the courts decide percentages of liability.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

The person burned would be able to counter sue the parents who let their rug rat run wild? An interesting twist not seen before…....

Judi's avatar

The person who got burned would be the one suing everyone. A countersuit would be if the person being sued turned around and sued the person who was suing them. For example, the parent got sued for not containing their child and so the parent sued the person who got burned for having Yheir chair in their Childs way.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

It might be seen like the burgler who sues you because HE fell through your sky light because your roof tiles were too slippery. I think the parents and the restaurant would get sued and the server would lose their job, and the haplas patron sitting at the table would be the hardest to get so no onw will think of them.

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