A recent, well-publicized case highlights the issue of customers suffering burn injuries while patronizing Hibachi restaurants. According to the lawsuit, Tori Spelling of the hit television show Beverly Hills 90210, “filed a personal injury lawsuit against the chain Wednesday, claiming she suffered wage loss, hospital and medicine expenses, general damage and loss of earning capacity after falling on a grill.” Additionally, the complaint alleges that the former TV star suffered significant third-degree burns as a result of the accident. Unlike other restaurants, Hibachi restaurants involve customers seated around the Chef as he or she prepares the meal. The tables have a small section for eating and drinking surrounding a functional grill or stove from which the food is directly served to restaurants guests.
The popularity of Hibachi restaurants has increased in the United States over the past few years, where there are now thousands of these Hibachi restaurants throughout the U.S. Another incident occurred last year, in which a number of customers were seated around a grill that ignited beyond its capacity, burning a number of them. As one customer described, “she felt droplets of hot oil hit her skin as the chef spread it across the grill, then heard a loud pop [and] then, screeching [and] one nearby diner ran into the kitchen area, while fire was visible from her hair and sweater [and] staff put out the flames with wet towels, she said the incident lasted several minutes.” In this particular situation, it was determined that the “flames were caused by use of a new kind of (cooking) alcohol, one with a higher proof” that caused the flames to shoot up.
Given that Hibachi restaurants employ a number of gas grills that are in close proximity to where customers and patrons are seated, they have a legal duty of care to insure that the customers are able eat their meal without risk of unreasonable harm. In many of these cases typically involve situations in which the restaurants are using cooking materials or other things that may exacerbate or cause significant burn risk to others. The restaurants must also maintain, repair, and otherwise keep their Hibachi grills in good working order so as to not cause a malfunction or other issue that may cause harm or injure customers and patrons. To the extent that a restaurant may be negligence with respect to the operation or maintenance of the Hibachi grills, they may or may not be legally liable and such issues essentially revolve around whether or not the restaurant maintained its duty of care with respect to its customers.
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If you or someone you know has suffered a burn injury at a restaurant, you need attorneys with experience in such personal injury matters. Colombo Law is highly experienced in such matters and can evaluate your potential legal claims on your behalf.