Liability in Car vs Restaurant Collisions

Cars and a Drive-in restaurant
Drive-in restaurant with many cars parked

When vehicles crash into restaurants, unsuspecting diners may suffer serious injuries for which they deserve financial compensation. The Storefront Safety Council reports that vehicle-into-building accidents occur 60 times per day across the U.S., resulting in hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries each year. Depending on the circumstances, those injured or who lose loved ones in such crashes may seek damages from the at-fault drivers or the restaurants where the accident occurred.

Causes of Vehicle-Building Collisions

Numerous factors contribute to the occurrence of vehicle-into-restaurant wrecks, many of which result from driver negligence. Based on a database of more than 13,000 analyzed auto accidents, the Storefront Safety Council found the leading cause of cars crashing into restaurants and other buildings include operator error such as putting the vehicle in drive instead of reverse and pedal errors including pressing the wrong pedal and foot slips. Driving under the influence, speed, medical situations, and intentional actions may also contribute to the occurrence of these types of collisions.

Holding At-Fault Drivers Financially Responsible

Financial liability for the losses resulting from car-into-restaurant collisions typically falls to the drivers who cause such crashes. At-fault motorists, typically through their insurance carriers, may compensate those injured as a result of vehicle-versus-building wrecks for their lost wages, pain and suffering, medical bills, and other associated losses. Drivers may bear liability for the damages from car-restaurant accidents when their negligence or unsafe actions led to the crashes, and thus, the resulting injuries.

The Responsibility of Restaurants for Patron Safety

Under certain circumstances, restaurants may also have liability for injuries suffered by patrons in vehicle-versus-restaurant crashes. State law provides that property owners and occupiers must take reasonable care to keep their properties reasonably safely maintained and to prevent their patrons from suffering foreseeable injuries. In order to pursue a claim against the restaurant for vehicle-building accidents, the person injured must show the restaurant owed him or her a duty of care, that the duty was breached, and that the breach directly connects to and caused his or her injuries.

Simply failing to warn patrons of a potential risk of car-into-restaurant accidents alone does not necessarily qualify as negligence on the part of the restaurant. Liability may only fall to the restaurant if areas of hazard existed that increased the danger of a vehicle-restaurant crash or conditions existed that otherwise may have increased or led to injuries from such collisions.