Waiter and waitress injury compensation claims

In the following guide we set out what you need to know about making a successful personal injury compensation claim.

How much can I claim?

Commercial kitchens are recognised by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as dangerous environments. According to the HSE, kitchens and restaurants and a frequent source of accidents in the workplace.

When kitchens are not suitably managed, in compliance with applicable regulations and health and safety standards, employees including wait staff are particularly at risk of injury.

Waiters and waitresses come into contact with hot drinks, ovens, knives and other kitchen equipment. Unlike other kitchen staff, these employees may not be fully trained in the safe use of such equipment.

All employers have a responsibility to protect their employees, visitors and members of the public from accidents and injuries. Any waiter, waitress or customer who is injured as a result of an accident in a restaurant environment may be eligible to claim compensation.

Restaurant table

Do I have a claim for a waiter or waitress injury?

If you have suffered an injury working as a waiter or waitress in the last three years and someone else was to blame, then we can help you make a compensation claim.

Do I have a claim?

Accidents sustained by waiting staff

Waiters and waitresses may be exposed to a variety of hazards in the workplace. Injury compensation claims made on behalf of wait staff range from those relating to burns, scalds and lacerations to sprains, strains and broken bones.

The most common accidents include:

Slips and falls

Slips, trips and falls are the primary cause of injury in cafés and restaurants. Wet floors, grease and spillages are hazardous and should be cleaned away quickly to reduce the risk of an accident occurring.

Scalds and burns

Waiters and waitresses are often tasked with preparing hot drinks and carrying them across a busy restaurant floor. Spillages can cause serious scald injuries. Restaurant equipment, such as ovens, grills and fryers also pose a burn injury risk.

To reduced the risk of accident, employers are expected to provide the appropriate safety training as well as issuing suitable Personal Protective Equipment where it is appropriate to do so.

Manual handling injuries

Working in a restaurant often requires a reasonable amount of lifting, pulling and carrying. Injuries arising from this activity, such as muscle pulls and strains, can occur if the waiter is not given training in the proper handling techniques and may result in a manual handling claim.

Cuts and lacerations

Knives, graters and industrial slicers are all features of the modern commercial kitchen.

By law, dangerous machinery must be fitted with the proper guards and other safety mechanisms to reduce the accident risk, and waiters who operate any dangerous tools and machinery should be trained on how to do so safely.

Employers have a legal duty to protect their employees from injury in the workplace. As part of this duty, they must observe various pieces of health and safety legislation such as the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974.

Any employer that fails to implement safe working practices may be liable to pay compensation if the waiter or waitress is injured as a result. This will be a type of work accident claim brought against the owner of the restaurant and their insurance company.

Accidents caused by waiting staff

Some of the most common preventable accidents involving restaurant customers include:

  • The waiter or waitress spilling hot drinks or food on a customer, causing scald injuries
  • Being struck by the objects the waiter was carrying, such as a plate, tray or other heavy item. Injuries typically include bruises, lacerations and concussion injuries
  • Colliding with a member of waiting staff
  • Being handed a hot plate, causing burn injuries

Anyone who has been involved in an accident with a waiter, waitress or other member of restaurant staff may be eligible to claim compensation for their injuries.

Vicarious liability

Ordinarily, the claim would be brought against the restaurant owner and not the waiter or waitress directly. That is because the waiter's actions are the responsibility of the employer. This mechanism is referred to as "vicarious liability".

As with all personal injury claims, the claimant would have to prove that someone else was to blame for the accident in order to be awarded compensation. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help gather the appropriate evidence and make a robust case.

Understanding No Win, No Fee claim agreements

No Win, No Fee agreements, technically referred to as Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs), form the start of a personal injury claim.

A CFA explains the work your case handler delivers and a percentage-based "success fee" to be taken from your total compensation after your lawyer wins the case.

You have no hidden charges when choosing a Quittance personal injury lawyer. You can focus on your recovery, with the knowledge that there will be nothing whatsoever to pay if the claim is unsuccessful.

Calculate my waiter or waitress injury compensation

The amount of compensation you will receive depends on a number of factors. Our work accident compensation calculator provides an accurate estimate of your likely compensation.

How much can I claim?

Accidents at work - Claims against your employer

Every year, 600,000* employees are injured in accidents at work. If you have suffered an injury or illness at work, you may able to claim compensation.

Find out if you can claim compensation from your employer: Read more about work accident claims

*Source: 2016/17 Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report

Meet the team

Quittance's national network of solicitors carry out the legal work for all types of compensation claim, including short-term, serious and life-changing injury claims. Our solicitors are chosen on the basis of their success rate in winning claims and their level of specialist experience.

To meet more of the Quittance team, click here.

Kevin Walker Serious Injury Panel Solicitor
Emma Bell Employers and Public Liability Panel Solicitor
Shahida Chaudery Complex Injury Claims Panel Solicitor
Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

About the author

Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.

Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert