Queens Attorneys for Restaurant Workers
Workers’ Compensation for Chefs, Servers & Other Food Service Workers in NYC
Just like any other employee, restaurant workers who are injured on the job or who suffer work-related medical conditions are entitled to workers’ compensation. New York’s workers’ compensation laws extend to all types of restaurant workers, including both front- and back-of-house employees, as well as managers, assistant managers, and others.
If you are a restaurant worker in New York City who was injured on the job, the Harris Firm, LLC can help you with your workers’ compensation claim. Unlike a lot of other law firms in the area, we do not refer out workers’ compensation cases. Instead, we handle them in-house, drawing on nearly 30 years of experience and an extensive network of resources to build powerful claims for our clients in Queens and the Bronx. We are prepared to defend your rights and fight to recover the benefits you deserve.
Common Restaurant Worker Accidents & Injuries
Although the job may appear less dangerous than others, such as construction, the reality is that restaurant workers face numerous risks every day. With the recent decline in the workforce and an increasing customer base, restaurant workers in New York City are being pushed to work harder than ever. When proper safety protocols are not followed, this can lead to serious accidents and debilitating injuries.
Here are some common types of restaurant accidents:
- Slips, Trips, and Falls: Wet or greasy floors, spills, and food debris can create slippery surfaces, leading to slips and falls. Uneven flooring, loose rugs, or clutter in walkways can cause trips and falls.
- Burns: Restaurant kitchens involve hot equipment, open flames, and boiling liquids, making burns a common risk. Employees may be scalded by hot liquids, oils, or surfaces. Waitstaff and customers can also be burned by hot food or beverages.
- Cuts and Lacerations: Sharp knives, slicers, and other kitchen equipment can cause cuts and lacerations. Broken glassware or crockery can result in injuries when handling dishes or cleaning up.
- Strains and Sprains: Lifting heavy items like pots, pans, and crates can lead to strains and muscle injuries for kitchen staff. Waitstaff may experience strains from carrying heavy trays or overexertion.
- Electrical Accidents: Faulty wiring, exposed electrical components, or wet conditions can result in electric shocks or fires. Employees handling electrical equipment may be at risk.
- Fires and Explosions: Kitchen fires can occur due to grease buildup, faulty equipment, or open flames. Gas leaks or other hazards can lead to explosions in extreme cases.
- Foodborne Illness: Mishandling or improper storage of food can lead to food contamination and foodborne illnesses for customers. Cross-contamination between raw and cooked foods can also pose a risk.
- Violence and Altercations: Altercations between customers or between staff and customers can occur, leading to physical injuries. Theft and robberies may also take place in restaurants.
- Choking Incidents: Customers may choke on food or foreign objects while dining in the restaurant.
- Allergen Exposure: Serving food with undisclosed allergens can lead to severe allergic reactions in customers. Kitchen staff may also be exposed to allergens if proper precautions are not taken.
Any work-related injury, illness, or medical condition is covered by workers’ compensation, as long as the employee was carrying out duties to benefit their employer at the time of the injury and did not negligently or intentionally inflict their own injury.
Causes of Accidents for Restaurant & Food Service Workers
Restaurant accidents can occur for various reasons, often due to a combination of factors.
Common causes of restaurant accidents include:
- Slippery Floors: Wet or greasy floors are a significant cause of slips and falls. Spills, dropped food, and inadequate floor drainage can create hazards. Improper cleaning procedures or a lack of warning signs can exacerbate this problem.
- Inadequate Training: Many restaurant accidents stem from a lack of proper training. Staff may not be adequately trained in food handling, equipment operation, safety procedures, or emergency response protocols.
- High-Stress Environment: The fast-paced and often high-stress environment of a restaurant can lead to employee distraction, lapses in judgment, and hurried movements, increasing the likelihood of accidents.
- Inadequate Supervision: A lack of supervision can lead to employees taking shortcuts or ignoring safety protocols. This can include ignoring proper food safety practices, not using personal protective equipment, or neglecting equipment maintenance.
- Equipment Hazards: Poorly maintained or malfunctioning kitchen equipment can lead to accidents. Sharp knives, slicers, hot ovens, and deep fryers can pose significant risks when not properly maintained.
- Burns and Scalds: The presence of hot surfaces, open flames, boiling liquids, and hot oil in the kitchen increases the risk of burns and scalds. Mishandling of hot pans, spatters from deep fryers, or contact with hot surfaces can cause injuries.
- Overexertion: Restaurant staff often engage in physical tasks, such as lifting heavy pots and pans, carrying trays, and standing for long hours. Overexertion can result in muscle strains, sprains, and other injuries.
- Inadequate Ergonomics: Poorly designed workstations or equipment can lead to musculoskeletal injuries over time. For example, employees who repeatedly bend, twist, or reach in awkward positions may suffer long-term injuries.
- Chemical Exposure: Employees who handle cleaning chemicals or other toxic substances can be exposed to hazardous chemicals if they are not adequately trained in proper handling and safety precautions.
- Food Handling Errors: Mishandling of food, cross-contamination, and improper cooking temperatures can lead to foodborne illnesses among customers and staff.
- Lack of Emergency Preparedness: Restaurants should have emergency response plans in place for events like fires, medical emergencies, or natural disasters. A lack of preparedness can exacerbate the impact of such incidents.
- Violence and Altercations: Altercations between staff, customers, or intruders can result in physical injuries. Failure to implement security measures can increase the risk of violence-related accidents.
- Allergen Mismanagement: Failure to properly manage allergens and provide clear information about ingredients can lead to customers experiencing allergic reactions.
- Fatigue: Long working hours, irregular schedules, and a fast-paced environment can lead to employee fatigue, which can impair judgment and reaction times, increasing the risk of accidents.
Which Restaurant Workers Are Entitled to Workers’ Compensation?
Any restaurant worker who is classified as an “employee” (and most are) is eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits in New York City. This includes part-time and full-time workers, as well as seasonal workers.
At the Harris Firm, LLC, we represent all types of restaurant and food service workers, including but not limited to:
- Sous chefs
- Line cooks
- Pastry chefs
- Counter servers
- Banquet staff
- General managers
- Kitchen managers
- Wine stewards
If you work in or for a restaurant and were injured on the job, our Queens restaurant workers’ compensation attorneys can help you seek the fair benefits you are owed. You could be eligible for medical benefits, temporary wage replacement, permanent disability, and more. We have extensive experience assisting clients with complex workers’ comp matters, including employee misclassification and uninsured employers.
How Can the Harris Firm, LLC Help?
We understand how serious it is when a work-related injury or illness leaves you facing massive medical bills and keeps you from earning wages. At the Harris Firm, LLC, we recognize the unique needs and concerns of restaurant workers, which is why we provide personalized legal service and develop custom strategies aimed at helping you navigate the workers’ compensation system.
Our attorneys are prepared to handle every aspect of your claim, from reporting the injury to filing necessary paperwork. We can work with your employer’s insurance company, as well as pursue possible additional avenues of compensation, such as the United Restaurants of New York workers’ compensation fund. If your claim is disputed or denied, we are ready to file an appeal on your behalf and can represent you in all related proceedings.
As a restaurant worker in New York City, you have certain rights, including the right to be fairly compensated when you are injured at work or become ill due to your employment. Our Queens restaurant worker injury attorneys are here to answer your questions and guide you through the process of seeking fair benefits.
We have an open-door policy; you do not need an appointment to come into one of our offices and speak to a member of our team. Our multilingual staff assists clients in English, Spanish, Russian, French, Bangali, and several other languages, and we can even travel to meet you at your home or in the hospital if your injuries prevent you from coming to us.
Because we offer our services on a contingency fee basis, there are absolutely no legal fees unless we recover compensation for you. Get in touch with us today to learn more during a free, no-obligation consultation.
Mr.Harris handled my case perfectly- Saidou K.
I changed my attorney to Mr.Harris and it was the best decision I've made- Genesis A.
Mr. Harris was very professional, and I’m very grateful what he has done for my case.- Lola L.
Very grateful! Definitely will recommend Mr. Harris to anyone who needs.- Sharanjeet S.
Mr. Harris is the very best in the business has been doing this for over 25 years- Israel Y.