Amputated Finger in Restaurant...

by Jordan
(Annapolis, MD)

I was sitting in a chair at a restaurant in New York City. I wanted to pull my chair in closer to the table, so I reached between my legs to grab the chair and pull it in closer to the table.

As I reached underneath to grab the chair while simultaneously raising my body about an inch from the chair, I felt my fingers slide between the cushion of the chair and the underlying metal structure. Before I could stop my body weight from sitting back down onto the chair, I was not able to get all of my fingers out.

My finger was smashed by the cushion of the chair against the sharp metal that it was supposed to be securely attached to. My finger was amputated and fell into a hole in the chair, where the paramedics had to come and dump it out so that I could take it with me to the hospital. The surgeons had to remove the bone in the severed part of my finger so that they could re-attach it.

I have also lost feeling and any kind of function with that finger. I have been told by one lawyer that I do not have a case because I cannot prove that the restaurant knew about the faulty chair and attempted to fix it. Is this true? Suppose they did know about it, but did nothing about it?

And even if they didn't know about it...does that ignorance of an unsafe chair excuse them from being punished for negligence? I feel I should have a case either way. What do you think?

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Amputated Finger in Restaurant...":

Jordan:

I think it’s time for you to seek out another lawyer, probably one specializing in Personal Injury Law. Relying on the facts you present it would seem ultimately clear the restaurant is liable. Whether the restaurant knew the chair was defective or not should be of little legal importance.

The restaurant invites what are legally referred to as “guests” into their restaurant. You were a guest. When inviting guests onto their premises for the purpose of conducting business the restaurant should know their guests sit on restaurant chairs.

If let’s say as an example you were sitting on a perfectly good chair in the same restaurant. While dining you accidentally knocked over a perfectly good glass onto the floor where it immediately smashed into a million pieces.

Although the manager quickly reacted and hurriedly walked to your table to clean up the glass, by the time he arrived you had already bent down and picked up a piece, cutting your finger so badly it eventually had to be amputated.

In a case like the above example the restaurant would probably not have any liability. That is because they acted in a “reasonable and prudent” manner to protect their customer / guest.

In your case though, those chairs are probably picked up each night while the floors are cleaned and then put back down the next morning before the restaurant opens.

The restaurant had more than sufficient notice of the chair's defect. Even if the manager and owner were truthfully unaware of the chair's dangerous defect, they should still be held liable. The point is they should have known.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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TYPE OF ACCIDENT
AUTO ACCIDENT
PERSONAL INJURY
WORKERS COMPENSATION
MEDICAL ERROR
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