Fell While Sitting Down at a Restaurant Table...

by Audree
(Glenview, IL, USA)

I was in the process of sitting on my chair at the table in a restaurant. I didn't realize my chair was falling backwards as I was in the process of sitting. I fell onto an uncarpeted floor and strained my lower back. This took place on January 12, 2012. I was lying on the floor for approximately 7 minutes, then got up with a lot of pain and continued my dinner.

The Restaurant offered to call the Paramedics - but I refused. I was also under the pressure of knowing that my father-in-law's funeral was the next day.

I did get x-rays a couple days later and was diagnosed with a severe lower back strain. I continue to be in pain but it is decreasing in severity.

The night at the restaurant was a cold night and heavy objects (coats, purses and bags) were slung over the backs of many chairs which caused this accident. It happened to another chair at our table when it fell backwards with no one seated on it.

To us this seemed like an accident ready to happen because of the conditions described above. Do we have recourse against the restaurant for more than the cost of my medical bills? Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Fell While Sitting Down at a Restaurant Table...":

Audree (Glenview, IL, USA):

In a word, "No". Thankfully you didn't suffer any serious injuries. You may have had X-Rays taken, but if you did you can be sure they did not detect back strain. That diagnosis was probably made by your doctor as a result of the symptoms you presented.

If in the unlikely event your back worsens, you might ask the doctor to order an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) examination. Doing so can help identify any disk herniation or other back related problems.

Absent medical evidence of any serious injury your injury will be relegated to what is medically and legally referred to as a "soft tissue injury".

Soft tissue injuries are those, like yours, where there is an absence of organ, muscle, ligament or tissue damage, but some evidence of swelling and discomfort. Soft tissue injuries can be actionable if they cause persistent pain and discomfort and require substantial treatment and therapy.

If your back worsens and the MRI indicates any serious injury, you will then have the basis of a personal injury claim.

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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