My son fell at a fast food restaurant playground...

by Comora
(Marietta, GA, USA)

My 6 year old son was playing at a big fast food chain's restaurant playground when he fell and busted his chin on the corner of the outside picnic table. As soon as it happened he came running to me with blood coming out his chin.

I noticed the cut was really big so I rushed him to the hospital and they gave him 5 stitches. Everything happened so fast I rushed out of the restaurant without notifying any of the staff. My question is, can I still sue even though I didn't make them aware of my son's injury before leaving? Or could they just pull the video from the surveillance camera to see? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "My son fell at a fast food restaurant playground...":

Comora (Marietta, GA, USA):

You can't be faulted for thinking of seeking medical care for your son before thinking about the restaurant's liability. While at this point you don't have a legal right to review or copy their video tape, you do still have a perfectly legitimate right to seek compensation for your son's injuries.

You don't necessarily have to sue at this point. The statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits in the State of Georgia is 2 years so you have plenty of time to do so if necessary.

Contact the restaurant's owner or manager - or both. Tell them what happened and the approximate date and time it did. They will probably review their video. If so they may be able to see where your son was injured. Their next step may be to refer you to their insurance company. You can take the claim from there.

What you may find though is what is referred to as "Assumption of the Risk". Most of the national chains have performed every reasonable safety measure possible to "injury-proof" their playgrounds. To be successful in a lawsuit you will have to prove the restaurant was negligent. That might be if the area where your son injured was broken and its repair was ignored by the management...or some other similarly unattended problem.

Most of the national chain restaurants have clear signs on the playgrounds telling parents they "assume the risk" for their children and any damages. That may pose a problem for you.

Take it one step at a time. Contact management and see if they will cooperate. But before you sign anything make sure your son's injury will not leave a permanent scar. If there's any chance of that you must seek the advice and counsel of a personal injury attorney. Such a matter is best handled by an experienced lawyer.

If the restaurant doesn't cooperate and you do file suit your attorney can subpoena the video tape. If you file your own lawsuit you could subpeona the video yourself but that's just not a good idea. If you sue the restaurant and decide to represent yourself you'll be up against their corporate legal team. That's just not a good idea.

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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