Can she seek compensation via a premises accident claim?
Rachel Myrick planned to sink her teeth into a nice meal when she walked into a Spotsylvania County, Virginia LongHorn Steakhouse, not have something sink its teeth into her.
According to Myrick, she felt a sharp pain on her foot as she walked into the foyer of the restaurant. At first she thought it must have been a bee sting so she tried to brush it off. However, the pain in her foot intensified and soon became excruciating. When she reached down to investigate, she felt something moving under her sandal-clad foot.
That’s when she realized she had been bitten by a baby copperhead snake. Though only about 8 inches long, the baby snake had bitten her three times, twice on her toes and once on the side of her foot.
Apparently, the snake had found its way into the restaurant’s foyer, where, being very aggressive, it had attacked the first person who came near it.
The snake was killed, medics arrived, and Myrick was taken to the hospital for observation. The pain and swelling in her foot became severe, eventually reaching as far as her hip. Myrick received antivenom treatment as well as morphine for the pain. Her recovery is expected to take three months.
LongHorn Steakhouse comped her party’s meals, which somehow seems less than adequate compensation for Myrick’s pain and suffering.
This incident begs the question: Are restaurants responsible for injuries caused by pests on their property?
The answer depends on a variety of factors, the most important of which is probably the foreseeability of the injury. In this case, the question would be whether or not it was reasonably foreseeable that a copperhead snake would get into the restaurant. Should the restaurant have taken special precautions to keep snakes and other unwelcome guests out? Did their failure to take these precautions result in the injury?
Another question would be how long the snake had been in the foyer before it bit Myrick. In general property owners are not liable for hazards that develop on their properties so suddenly that they would have no way of knowing about them before they caused an injury, much less addressing them. If the snake slithered in with Myrick, the restaurant surely would not be liable. If it had been there all day, you might be able to argue that the restaurant was to blame for the snake bites.
These kinds of issues make receiving compensation for premises accidents a challenge. It is important to work with an experienced personal injury lawyer who understands the law and can present the strongest possible argument for you to receive full and fair compensation for your injuries and suffering. Call The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 now for a free consultation.