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Compensation Claim Against An Employer For A Waiter, Waitress, Chef Or Serving Staff Injury

By Michael Patrick. Last Updated 22nd January 2021. Welcome to our guide, where we discuss how to claim against an employer after an accident. Kitchen and serving injuries in restaurants, cafés and commercial canteens are prevalent occurrences. Waiters and waitresses are at risk of many types of injuries with the most common being burns, slips, trips and falls. Chefs are prone to cuts and needlestick injuries. Whilst members of the public can suffer injuries caused by one of the serving staff.

In this guide, we will look at the process for claiming for a personal injury caused in a kitchen, or whilst waiting table, and for members of the public injured by serving staff.

Select a section:

A Guide to Making A Claim Against An employer for Injuries Sustained To A Waiter, Waitress, Chef or other Serving Staff

Waiter, Waitress, Chef Or Serving

Waiter, Waitress, Chef Or Serving

Working in a busy kitchen, serving food to a busy restaurant or canteen is one of the most common occupations that suffer from personal injury while at work. Unsurprisingly, a kitchen injury claim is one of the most often seen types of industrial injury claims. Add to this the fact that a chef is exposed to sharp implements on a daily basis, and we can add a whole bunch of chef injury claim cases to the large number of kitchen-related personal injury claims we process every year.

We have produced this guide to help people who have suffered an injury whilst working as a waiter, waitress or chef, and also members of the public who may have been injured by serving staff, in learning the process of starting a successful claim against an employer.

Have You been Burned by a Waiter or Waitress?

Accidents can happen, and from time to time, a waiter or waitress might spill a hot dish on one of the customers, leading to a serious burn or scald injury.

When this happens, a cause to claim compensation for the injury against the restaurant owner may exist. If a lack of compliance with standards set out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), then the chance of being awarded compensation is high.

The cause can be physical, such as a badly maintained or wet floor causing a waiter or waitress to slip and spill hot food on a customer. Or it could be less tangible, such as the restaurant owner failing to ensure serving staff are trained properly in how to carry and service scalding food.

Making A Claim Against An employer for Burn Injuries in a Kitchen

It should come as no surprise that burn injuries are one of the two most common types of injuries that the kitchen and serving staff suffer from. The other being cuts and needlestick injuries.

A chef is the most likely type of kitchen staff to sustain a burn injury. Although waiters and waitresses can also burn themselves whilst carrying hot dishes, or if they inadvertently spill hot food on themselves.

If you have suffered a burn injury whilst serving customers in a restaurant, or whilst working as a chef preparing food in a kitchen, then you will very likely have a valid reason to bring a personal injury compensation claim against your employer.

Claiming for Slip Trip or Fall Injuries in a Kitchen

Another prevalent form of accidents that can occur whilst working in a restaurant, as a waitress, waiter or a chef, is slip, trip or fall. Indeed, this is the single most common type of personal injury compensation claim against an employer we make on behalf of our clients across the board.

You can make a waiter injury claim against an employer for a slip, trip or fall accident at work, against your employer in certain circumstances. Your employer is required under U.K. Health & Safety legislation to maintain a safe working environment for its staff (more on that below). If they fail to do so, you can claim against them.

For chefs who want to claim kitchen injury compensation, the same applies. If you slip or fall in the kitchen, and it was due to your employer not maintaining a safe working environment, you will have a valid reason to claim personal injury compensation against them.

Could I Make A Claim Against An Employer for Cuts and Needlestick Injuries in a Kitchen

Another common reason that we see for people claiming kitchen accident compensation is for cuts and needlestick injuries sustained in the kitchen. Most normally, this is a chef accident, but in busy restaurants, where the serving staff often have to help out in the kitchen, then a waiter or waitress might sustain a cut or needlestick injury.

A quick explanation of what a needlestick injury is might be needed, as it is not a common term. A needlestick injury is any injury caused by a sharp implement puncturing the skin, as opposed to slicing it like a knife cut.

Although quite minor, needlestick injuries can have severe health effects, as they are extremely prone to becoming infected.

If you are a waiter, waitress or chef who has sustained a cut or needlestick injury in the kitchen, and it can be proven your employer was at fault, then you may have a valid reason to claim personal injury compensation.

The Most Common Kitchen Accidents that Result in an Injury

If you have been injured whilst serving food in a restaurant, you could be eligible to make a waitress injury claim. For example, serving food requires lifting heavy plates and dishes repetitively, and this could result in waitress wrist pain due to some form of repetitive strain injury. This could be the basis of a work-related illness compensation claim. The number of different types of accidents that can occur in a kitchen is vast, but here are the most common:

  • Cuts sustained whilst preparing food – chefs are notorious for keeping their knives frighteningly sharp. For this reason, even a slight slip can cause a deep, serious cut.
  • Slipping on a wet or oily floor – spills are a daily occurrence in most kitchens. If liquid, especially cooking oil, is left on the floor, it can easily lead to a waiter accident.
  • Scalding – either simply from boiling water or from actually preparing dishes. A scald is a serious injury, despite the fact it has few visible symptoms. This is also a common waitress accident whilst carrying piping hot dishes to the table.
  • Burns – either from an oven or from a stovetop, burns happen in kitchens regularly. A burn can lead to serious scarring and loss of function in a hand or arm in extreme cases.
  • Musculoskeletal injuries – such as pulling a muscle in the back whilst lifting a heavyweight improperly.

All of these types of accidents and more could leave the victim with a valid reason to make a claim against an employer for personal injury compensation.

How To Make A Claim for a Kitchen Accident as a Member of the Public

Although it is rare, members of the public do from time to time suffer an injury in a commercial kitchen. For example, they may have been invited into the kitchen to meet the chef, and whilst doing so, been involved in a kitchen accident.

In cases such as this, the member of the public will likely have a valid reason to make a personal injury claim against the restaurant operator.

Just as restaurant owners are required under Health & Safety legislation to maintain a safe environment for their staff, they are also required to do so for the public. If they fail to do this properly, a reason to make a compensation claim will exist.

Kitchen Health & Safety Considerations

In the U.K. the Food Standards Agency maintains a set of standards that every commercial restaurant, café or canteen should aim to adhere too. Many of these standards are aimed squarely at preventing accidents happening to either staff or members of the public.

Legally, every firm working in the foodservice, catering and hospitality sector must comply with the legislation set out by the Health & Safety regulations produced and maintained by the U.K. Government. Additionally, the Health and Safety Executive publishes many guides, aimed at helping companies reduce the risk of accidents. Such as preventing slips in a kitchen.

Failing to comply with this legislation could lead to a company losing its food service license. Any accident or injury caused by a lapse in compliance will always provide a viable route to starting a personal injury compensation claim for both employees and members of the public.

Kitchen Accident and Injury Facts and Statistics

1.6 million cases of work-related illness occur in the workplace each year, and an estimated 693,000 employers are injured at their place of work. These statistics are provided by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), and they cover every industry.

To combat workplace accidents from occurring, there are measures and procedures that can be carried about by an employer. For instance, The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 outlines various measures, such as:

However safe it may be, this does not mean there are never serious or even fatal accidents associated with the hospitality trade. It does mean that fewer lawyers specialise in pursuing commercial kitchen injury claims though. If you need a professional legal service to help you claim for an injury sustained whilst working as a waitress, waiter or chef, we can help.

What to do If You Have Suffered an Injury in a Kitchen Accident

Injured kitchen staff

Injured kitchen staff

If you have suffered an injury whilst working in a kitchen as a chef, cook, waiter or waitress, then you may wish to make a personal injury compensation claim. Should you do so, then there are a number of things you can do to make pursuing your claim more efficient, and these include:

  • Document the events leading up to and during the accident – for example, if cooking oil was spilt on the floor, and the restaurant was so busy that nobody had time to clean it up, and this lead to a slip, trip or fall in the kitchen, be sure to note all of this down.
  • You must ensure that the accident has been recorded in the accident book – every company is required by law to keep an accident book, to record incidents that have caused an injury. Make sure your injury is officially entered into the company accident book.
  •  You can make sure the treatment of your injury was recorded – this means you need to visit a hospital to get treatment, not simply take care of it yourself no matter how minor the injury was.
  • List Expenses– not just out of pocket expenses such as paying for transport to the hospital, but also other expenses such as missing work and not being paid. This is especially important for people who are on what is termed a zero-hours contract. Make sure you note all of the missed days or hours of work due to the accident.

Once you are ready, you can use the contact details at the bottom of the page to contact us to begin your kitchen injury claim.

What can be claimed for an Injury Sustained in a Kitchen Accident?

There are a number of categories of compensation that a waiter or waitress could be able to claim if an accident at work was caused by negligence. These include:

General damages –

In this category, we place all of the compensation that is being claimed for the actual physical effects of the injury. Here we have pain and suffering and any claim that is being made for ongoing health issues, either transient or permanent.

Special damages –

Anything that falls outside of the general damages category will generally come under the special damages category. Examples of the types of compensation that could be claimed under general damages include:

  • Medical expenses.
  • Travel expenses.
  • Loss of earnings.
  • Loss of future income.
  • Ongoing care costs.
  • Rehabilitation and treatment costs.
  • Other monetary losses, such as having to cancel a pre-paid holiday.

It should be noted that this is not a definitive list of the types of compensation that can be claimed by a waiter, waitress or chef for an injury sustained in an accident at work. Once we know a little more about your case, we can advise you if there are any others that apply.

No Win No Fee Waiter, Waitress, Chef Or Serving Staff Injury Claims

Pursuing a claim for a personal injury at work is never simple, and never quick. For a waiter or waitress who is already earning little more than the minimum wage, taking on the legal expenses of pursuing such a case would be daunting, if not impossible.

We have a solution to this problem. We will take on your kitchen accident injury compensation case under a No Win No Fee agreement. What this means is that you don’t need to pay us anything to begin your claim, and you won’t have to pay us any ongoing legal costs across the life cycle of the claim.

The only time you will need to pay us anything is to win compensation on your behalf. If we fail to win any compensation for you, then you don’t pay us anything. So you really have no financial risk at all.

How Much Can I Claim for an Injury Sustained in a Kitchen?

The actual amount of compensation you could receive as a waiter or waitress who has suffered an injury at work will always be driven by the details of your specific case. However, for the general damages portion of the claim, these figures below are a good indication of how much you might get.

InjurySeverity AmountNotes
Toe InjuryModerate to Full Amputation Up to £42,600From soft tissue injuries to amputation of one or more toes.
Foot InjuryMinor to Full amputation Up to £153,200From soft tissue injuries to amputation of both feet.
Achilles InjuryMinor to Severe Up to £29,200 
Ankle InjuryMinor to Very Severe Up to £53,000 
Knee InjuryModerate to Severe Up to £73,125 
Leg InjuryModerate to Full amputation Up to £214,350From soft tissue injuries to amputation of both legs.
Finger InjuryMinor to Full Amputation Up to £27,925From soft tissue injuries to amputation of one or more fingers. Could be more in some cases.
Thumb InjuryMinor to Full Amputation Up to £41,675From soft tissue injuries to amputation of one or both thumbs. Could be more in some cases.
Wrist InjuryMinor to Very Severe Up to £45,500 
Hand InjuryMinor to Full Amputation Up to £64,275From soft tissue injuries to amputation of one or both hands.
Elbow InjuryMinor to Severe Up to £41,675 
Arm InjuryMinor to Full Amputation Up to £228,000From soft tissue injuries to amputation of one or both arms.
Shoulder InjuryMinor to Severe Up to £36,500 
Neck InjuryMinor to Severe Up to £112,750 
Back InjuryMinor to Severe Up to £122,350 

On top of this, you would also potentially be claiming some level of special damages, and these would be unique to your case. So please contact us, so we can learn a little more about you and your injury, and give you a better idea of how much you might claim.

How to Start a Claim Against An Employer Kitchen Injury

Starting a claim for personal accident compensation as a waiter or waitress, following an accident at work is very simple.

Just use the contact details at the bottom of this page to get in touch with us. We will then go through a short and totally free consultancy session to garner your case’s facts. We can also arrange for a local medical examination if we think it would help your claim.

When our solicitors have all of the specifics about your accident and injury, we will advise you on how to proceed. For most people, this means offering them our No Win No Fee kitchen accident claims service.

Why Choose Us as Your Claims Service for a Kitchen Injury Claim

As a company, we know that the most important thing for us is our customer base. No matter how small your claim, we will always treat you with the same level of care and attention that we provide every client.

We help thousands of people each year claim compensation for personal injuries. We always put your first and try to get you the highest amount of compensation possible. But we do this ethically, and will never do anything to put your claim at risk. We try to win your case as quickly as possible and always keep you in the loop about your claim’s current status, without using too much legal jargon.

Call for Free Advice and To Start a Claim

Have you been working as a waitress or a waiter and recently suffered an injury due to an accident at work? If you are, and you have, then you can probably claim personal injury compensation.

By calling us on 0800 073 8804, using the webchat feature of this site, or emailing us directly, we can start to help your claim the compensation that is rightfully yours today. And best of all, we will do this under a No Win No Fee agreement, and you won’t pay us a penny unless we actually win your claim for you.

Helpful Links

No Win No Fee Guide

Click to learn more about No Win No Fee agreements.

How Much Compensation For a Burn Injury Claim?

Have you been burned by a waitress or a waiter or member of the serving staff? Find out how much compensation you can claim today and get free legal advice.

Restaurant Injury And Accident Compensation Claims

If you have had any type of injury at a restaurant including slips, trips or burns in a restaurant, feel free to contact us today and find out if you have a claim.

How Much Compensation Can I Claim Against An Employer For An Accident At Work?

If you have had an accident at work, find out how to claim and find out how much you can claim a workplace accident.

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