Visitor Question

Amputated Finger in Restaurant…

Submitted 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?

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear 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.

Learn more here: Slip and Fall Claims

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


3 thoughts on “Amputated Finger in Restaurant…

  1. Joseph says:

    I know someone to whom this exact thing just happened to at a restaurant. I’m trying to help her out by finding others this happened to. What ever happened with your cases and research? I think that if chairs keep chopping peoples fingers off in the same manor, negligence has to be looked at for the establishment providing the chair and/or the chair manufacturer. How common is this??

  2. Stuart Ollanik says:

    Jordan and Susan, I know someone who had this same experience, and we are trying to find others who this has happened to, to try to help solve this problem. If you could please call me, Stuart, at 303-579-9322, I would very much appreciate it! Thanks.

  3. Susan says:

    I’m sorry about your finger. This actually happened to me. Almost exactly but I was at work and it was just the tips of two fingers. One almost lost the whole tip but it wasn’t through the bone – easy to sew on. The other was smashed really good. I was looking this up because it seems like it would be common.

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