When you’re injured during your shift, you should be able to get monetary help to cover your lost wages and medical expenses.
Talk to our Georgia injury lawyer.
Most people mistakenly think workers’ compensation only covers obviously dangerous workplaces like construction or factory workers, but that’s not true. Employees from nearly every profession are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in Georgia — including restaurant staff.
Restaurant employees have many different responsibilities depending on the position they hold.
Common types of restaurant jobs include:
- Serving staff (waiters and waitresses)
- Cooks and chefs
- Hosting staff (hosts)
If you work in the restaurant or bar business in Georgia and were injured on the job, you’re most likely entitled to workers’ compensation. It doesn’t matter if you work as a dishwasher or you manage an entire restaurant — if you’re injured during your shift, then you should be able to get monetary help to cover your lost wages and medical expenses.Unfortunately, all workers’ compensation claims don’t go smoothly. In fact, many are initially denied, and other injured restaurant workers are lowballed in order to get them to settle for less than they deserve.
At Gerber & Holder Attorney At Law, we have decades of experience and will do our utmost to fight for you. For example, one of our past clients was a 51-year-old restaurant worker who had slipped and fell – striking his head on the ground while taking the trash out to a dumpster. He suffered serious and long-term head injuries. As a result, we were able to recover $225,000 in workers’ compensation benefits, allowing him to focus on his recovery and health.
Don’t take your employer at their word if they say your workplace injury isn’t covered.
Contact us today for your free consultation.
Common workplace injuries in a restaurant and kitchen
Servers, hosts, cooks and bartenders face many hazards each day, some of them specific to their line of work. Beyond dealing with rude or demanding customers, they often need to be vigilant for on the job hazards such as:
- Spilled drinks or grease floors that could cause a slip and fall
- Back and neck injuries due to lifting heavy trays loaded with hot food
- Extremely hot food plates which can cause severe burns
- Repetitive motion injuries caused by simple movements like rolling silverware or repeatedly wiping surfaces and sweeping floors
- Exposure to harsh cleaning chemicals
- Ankle or knee injuries from falling/tripping on stairs
- Cuts due to sharp objects such as knives or broken dishes
Commercial kitchens are the center of fast-paced restaurants, and they are full of hot objects and liquids, slick floors, impatient people and sharp objects. Trying to serve up food in a timely manner is hard work, and severe accidents in and around a commercial kitchen often happen. All it takes is one small mistake near a deep fryer to leave a person with life-threatening burns and high medical bills.
What to do if you’re injured on the job in a restaurant
Each state is allowed to determine if restaurants are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. In Georgia, restaurants and fast food eateries are indeed required to have such coverage. While it may be tempting to just “soldier on” or “walk off” that latest injury, it’s important to tell your manager when you’re hurt and seek immediate medical help.
Some employers have workers’ compensation policies that explain exactly which doctor you should see. You can always get a second opinion, or head straight to the emergency room if the injury is severe. Without proper treatment, your injury could become worse, leading to more downtime and a longer recovery.
After receiving treatment for your injury, consult a workers’ compensation lawyer near you to calculate how much your claim is worth. By filing a workers’ compensation claim, you’ll not only be reimbursed for medical expenses, but also lost wages and rehabilitation costs.
Top dangers of working in a restaurant
Servers often juggle a variety of challenging tasks while the chaos of a restaurant swirls around them. There’s no doubt that the kitchen area is the most dangerous part of a restaurant, but those working with the public also face a variety of workplace hazards. Falls from wet or uneven floors in dark areas are a real threat, as are cuts from broken glass, dishes, knives and other tools and utensils.
These hazards are compounded by a demanding work schedule, which sometimes requires a person to work long, double shifts early in the morning or late at night. When you’re tired or fatigued, you’re more likely to make a mistake that could result in a serious injury.If you were hurt during your shift, you could be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Compensation after a workplace restaurant accident
If you’re pursuing a workers’ compensation claim, the most fundamental piece of evidence you must show is that you were genuinely injured while on the clock. Insurers often attempt to deny restaurant staff workers’ compensation claims because they don’t believe the injury was sustained at work.
It’s important to have statements from restaurant co-workers or bartenders, or any kitchen staff who may have witnessed the injury, validating your point of view. Seeking statements from patrons who may have witnessed your injury is another option.
It can also help your case a great deal if you’re able to secure video recordings of the incident made by security cameras. Of course, if you were hurt during your shift, immediately inform your manager and seek medical attention right away. Informing your supervisor about the injury should generate an official record of the incident, which is an important piece of evidence when filing a workers’ compensation claim.
In most states (including Georgia), injured employees cannot sue their employers, but filing a third-party claim against a customer, coworker or someone else who may have contributed to your injuries may be an option. You’ll certainly want a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney working on your behalf should you choose to go down this route.
Are tips included in workers’ compensation payroll?
Workers’ compensation settlements are usually made up of 2 components: 1) pay for hours you couldn’t work, and 2) medical treatment. However, workers’ compensation involving restaurant employees also sometimes take into account the loss of earnings via tips.
Insurers may try to have your tip income excluded from workers’ compensation payments, especially if those tips aren’t taxed. However, there have been instances when a court has ruled in favor of a plaintiff regarding tip income if it could be proven that you have acknowledged tips to your restaurant manager at the end of your shift.
Did you know that workers’ compensation rules vary depending on the state where you were hurt? For more information on workplace injuries and other frequently asked questions about Georgia workers’ compensation and disability benefits, visit our FAQs page.
Our record of winning accident cases in Georgia speaks for itself:
Let our Georgia workers’ compensation attorneys serve you
If you or a loved one works as waitstaff or cook in a restaurant and were injured on the job, don’t wait to seek medical help and inform your manager. Once that’s done, contact the experienced Georgia workers’ compensation lawyers at Gerber & Holder Workers’ Compensation Attorneys so that we can assist in evaluating your case and discover the best route forward.