When a company decides to have thousands of locations around the world, it opens itself up to a higher level of corporate liability and personal injury lawsuits. By 2015, there were 36,525 McDonald’s restaurants around the world, which creates a lot of exposure to potential slip and fall accidents. But can you successfully sue McDonald’s for your slip and fall accident?

McDonald’s Customer Slips On Liquid In PhiladelphiaMcDonald's signage

In 2013, a McDonald’s customer in Philadelphia slipped and fell on a liquid substance that was allowed to stay on the floor of a McDonald’s for some time. According to the classic definition of a slip and fall accident, the people responsible for maintenance at that McDonald’s restaurant should have either noticed the spill and taken action when the spill occurred.

In this case, it is not unreasonable to expect the staff at the restaurant to notice the spill and take care of it. At the very least, the cleaning staff should have put up a warning sign to prevent people from walking in that area until the spill could be taken care of. A spill is something people notice, and it is the restaurant’s responsibility to maintain a clean and safe environment for its customers.

Loose Floor Tile Slip And Fall Accident

By comparison, let’s consider the 2014 incident at a McDonald’s in St. Louis where a customer tripped and fell as the result of a loose floor tile. While a commercial location is required to maintain its property so that it is safe for customers, a personal injury case also takes into account whether or not it is reasonable to assume that the staff in the building knew there was a danger.

A loose floor tile is not something that can easily be seen, especially if the tile remains in place. According to the lawsuit, the tile had been loose “for a considerable period of time” prior to the slip and fall incident. This wording shows up in the actual lawsuit, and it raises questions as to whether the McDonald’s staff could reasonably be held responsible for the slip and fall accident.

In order for a commercial property owner to be liable for a slip and fall accident, that owner must know there is a danger and do nothing to solve the problem. In the case of the St. Louis trip and fall accident, it could be said that the staff was never told about the loose tile and was never given a chance to repair it. If the tile had been loose for some time, then customers do have a responsibility to alert the staff to the potential danger. In this instance, McDonald’s could counter by saying that the plaintiff purposely did not disclose the danger so that they could file a slip and fall lawsuit.

The Rules Are The Same For EveryoneRestaurant dining out

Despite the fact that McDonald’s has tens of thousands of locations worldwide, the company is still bound by the personal injury laws in the states where they do business. Since McDonald’s restaurants are run by local franchisees, it is the responsibility of the franchisees to make sure that each location is safe for customers at all times. But when people file lawsuits against McDonald’s for incidents that occur in franchise locations, it is common for the parent company to show up in the lawsuit as well.

If you are involved in a slip and fall accident in a McDonald’s restaurant, you have the same right to sue that restaurant as you would any other commercial or residential location. A McDonald’s restaurant is a busy place, and it is reasonable to expect the staff to keep up with cleaning spills and taking care of other issues that could compromise customer safety.

However, if you do file a slip and fall lawsuit against McDonald’s, remember that the company is protected by the same laws as anyone else. Anyone who sues McDonald’s needs to be able to prove that it was reasonable to expect the staff at the restaurant to be aware of the slip and fall issue. If you know of a loose floor tile at a McDonald’s and decide to slip on it in order to generate a lawsuit instead of alerting the staff to the problem first, then you will be disappointed at the results you’ll get in court.