Burn Injuries


Work- related burns are one of the primary causes of occupational injuries in the restaurant industry. Burn injuries occur frequently everyday than most restaurant owners care to admit. Working in the restaurant industry comes with the inherent dangers of burns, not only are restaurant workers prone to accidents like this, customers eating in restaurants often times are victims of these injuries as well.

Customers eating in restaurants often fall victims of a hot spill over the counter by a waitress, hot soup burns a patron’s mouth or even the grease in a to-go bag melts onto a patron’s laps. Whatever form or degree of burns experienced by either the workers in a restaurant or the clients, burn injuries are quite frightening and dangerous; they should be prevented at all cost.

Apart from the most common form of injuries experienced in a restaurant; burns other forms of injuries can still pose a situation of danger to the workers and patrons in any restaurant. Some common forms of accidents include;

  • Slips and falls – This can occur from grease on the floor, tripping over an object or even slipping on a wet surface after mopping, this form of accident is very common for clients and employees in a restaurant to suffer from. Many serious burns occur in the restaurant industry when employees slip and try to steady themselves properly. Slips and falls account for about 18 percent of work related injuries in a restaurant.
  • Cuts and lacerations- Every restaurant kitchen contains sharp objects like knives, glass, slicers, choppers and other sharp objects that can pose dangers in the kitchen environment

Restaurant owners owe their workers and patrons a duty of care to ensure that they prevent the frequent occurrence of injuries like this in their work environment. They have a duty to provide safety measures for their employees as well as their patrons. In other to avoid the occurrence of any burn injuries by restaurant owners, it is important that they train their employees on the correct safety measures to keep them out of harm’s way. Prompt repairs should be made by restaurant to any damaged area in the kitchen or any other place in the restaurant.

Providing employees in a restaurant with educational materials even before employing them is an effective way to train them to identify hazards and highlight ways to perform their jobs efficiently while avoiding getting any injuries.

Managements of any restaurant are also enjoined to ensure that strict guidelines in the restaurant are followed to avoid mishaps. Safety measures should also be followed at all times, and workers should be attentive and observant to avoid occasioning injury to themselves and their patrons. Great communication and understanding between co-workers is also relevant in preventing burnt injuries.

There are some established preventive measures restaurant workers can adopt in other to avoid major burn injuries at their work place. Some of this measures include;

  • Wearing of protective gloves or mitts when handling hot pots or when cooking with hot, deep- frying oil.
  • Avoid reaching over or across hot surfaces and burners; make use of barriers, guards or enclosures to prevent contact with hot surfaces.
  • Read and follow the proper instructions of any electrical appliance before making use of them in the kitchen.
  • Avoid carrying or moving oil containers when the oil is still hot or on fire
  • Wear non- skid shoes to prevent slipping on wet or greasy floors.
  • Extinguish hot oil/grease fires by placing a lid over the top of the container.
  • It is also important that the management should plan traffic patterns so that employees when carrying hot food don’t collide with each other.
  • Cook at manufacturers recommended temperatures. Don’t overheat the oil.
  • Ensure you place nonslip floor mats around fryers to reduce the chance of slipping and falling into the frying equipment.
  • Keep floors clear of debris and grease to avoid slipping.
  • Apply extreme care when handling foods that have been microwaved; they can reach temperature greater than boiling.
  • Keep first aid kits readily available to your employees.
  • Make sure at least one person on each shift has first-aid training.
  • Keep fire extinguishers at work place accessible and available at all times.
  • Ensure lids are tight-fitting and handles are securely attached to vessels that contain hot liquids.
  • Use proper cooking tools such as tongs, to prevent contact with hot surfaces and foods.
  • Avoid opening cookers and steam ovens when they are under pressure.
  • Turn hot pot handles away from burners and never leave handles sticking out over the edge of the range.
  • Do not leave hot oil or grease unattended for any period of time.

While it is not possible to entirely eradicate the occurrence of burn injuries in a workplace, adopting the aforementioned safety tips to minimize work-place accidents.

When burns occur in restaurants either to employees or patrons it is important to employ the appropriate first aid kits in other to relief the pain as much as you can. Burns are experienced in several degrees, and there are also several available ways to contain several degrees on burns experienced at restaurants while awaiting the help of medics. Some suggested ways include;

  1. Stop the burning process- As fast as you can it is important to stop the burning process. This may require removing the affected person from the area, dousing the flames with water, or smothering flames with a blanket.
  2. Cool the burn to help soothe the pain. It is advisable to hold the burned area under cool but not cold water until the pain eases. Alternatively, you can apply a clean towel dampened with cool tap water.
  3. Remove any clothing or jewelry near the burnt area of the skin, don’t try to remove anything that is stuck on the burnt skin as this may occasion more damage to the skin.
  4. Elevate burnt body parts above heart level.
  5. Cover affected areas with clean sheets or blankets.

Provided that the burns occasioned is not a major burn, you can apply the mentioned steps. When a major burn occurs, it is important to treat with the help of medical professionals.

What is a good settlement offer?

What is a good settlement offer?

It is very common for victims of a personal injury caused by other individual’s fault to get a settlement offer before going to court. In fact, around 95% of personal injury cases are settled before court trial. (1) It turns out that there is more than one good reason for this – you will save time, energy and money. However, simply because you have a chance to avoid a long trial and you have an offer for a settlement doesn’t mean that you should accept it right away. Namely, there are situations when the settlement offer is not fair or reasonable and some people still accept these offers.

One of the best ways to determine whether a settlement offer is good or not is to talk to an experienced attorney. These professionals know that every case is different, but if they have experience, they have probably handled a case similar to your case in the past. In other words, they will know what a good settlement looks like. But, if you want to stay on the safe side and be sure that the settlement is reasonable and acceptable, you should analyze the elements of the offer.

Analyze the damages

What kind of injury do you have? For instance, if you were involved in a motor vehicle accident, you might have experienced head and back injuries which are among the most serious personal injuries. On the other hand, there are situations when people experience soft tissue injuries and these injuries usually don’t have a significant impact on people’s everyday life. So, the extent of the injury and its effect on your life and your ability to conduct everyday task should determine the value of the settlement.

Check the liability

Is the defendant completely responsible for the accident that led to the injury? In this case, the settlement offer should include their consent to pay for all the damages to the plaintiff. If the accident is caused (partially) by your actions then you should expect to settle for less.

A factor in settlement is liability.


Calculate your wage loss

Did you miss work due to this accident? There are many cases when accidents like this prevent people from working or they have to work on less demanding tasks. As a result of that people lose wages and the settlement offer must include a part in which the defendant is held responsible for this loss. If you have missed a lot of work, the settlement must be higher.


What kind of insurance coverage does the defendant have? Is there worker’s compensation involved? In case they have a policy for $15,000 then you should expect a settlement that doesn’t exceed $15.000.

Take the attorney fees into consideration

When you get the settlement offer, you should not forget that part of the money goes to the attorney. As a matter of fact, they usually take 33% of the settlement amount. (2) Of course, they will get this sum only if they are able to win the case, but you still have to check whether you will be satisfied with the offer once this amount of money is deducted.

Brian Elston Law specializes in personal injury settlement negotiations. If you need an Asheville, NC personal injury attorney, contact us today.

Steps to Take After an Accident

Steps to Take After an Accident

Steps you should take if you are injured at work

If you are injured at work, you need to document and report it. Even minor injuries can have lasting effects on your health, and the longer you wait the more difficult it is to be compensated for those injuries. Furthermore, reporting the injury will help document problems in the workplace that may effect your fellow co-workers if left unchecked.

If you are not sure what constitutes a workplace injury, or need help navigating legal issues related to injuries at work, workers compensation, construction site accidents, and health insurance claims, contact Brian Elston Law for advice. We’re here to help you.

As the utilization of machinery is increasing in the workplace environment so is the risk of injury. Many organizations are working to make the industry safe to avoid the accidents. They are creating a protected working environment as well as compensations plans in case of injuries. If an accident has happened you have to ensure that you report it, otherwise, you are doing no good to the employer or the company.


One of the most important steps that you should take is to report when the accident has happened. You might have gone through a minor injury that did not require the immediate medical attention so you thought that there is no need to report it for the time being.

Keep in mind that this is the biggest mistake that you can do. The reason is that when you will not report the injury on time the employer will deny giving you the compensation money or other promised services. In order to prevent many potential issue report, the accidents are the best solution.

Apart from that, you will not get the help from your private health insurance for the workplace injuries only because you did not report the injury on time. It is important that you are aware of the reporting deadline in your organization so that you can take the required steps on time.

Know your right

Some of the worker compensation laws vary from state to state but there are few laws that are same around the globe. It is important that you understand your rights properly. So here is the list of rights that you must beware of:

  • You are allowed to file the claim about the injury in the industrial court or the worker compensation court
  • It is the right of the employer to ask for medical help or see a doctor
  • In case that the doctor allows you to return to work then you have the right to continue your job
  • Due to the injury if you are not allowed to return to your job temporarily or permanently then you deserve some amount from the disability compensation plan
  • You have the right to appeal against the decision if you do not agree with the worker’s compensation plan, employer insurance company or compensation court
  • The workers have the right to be represented in the court with the help of a lawyer

Bottom line

In case that you have taken all the required steps and reported the injury on time. Still, the employer is not providing you the health care benefits and the money from the compensation plan then it is the time that you take the legal actions. Take the help from the worker compensation attorney. We have been providing the best services to the workers at an affordable rate to ensure that they will get their rights.  Please contact us today if you have any questions, 828-575-9700.

Full Commission Finds for Employee

Brian Elston Law is pleased to share a decision in favor of his client at the Full Commission.

In reversing the deputy commissioner, the Full Commission found the Employee credible and that he was in fact injured on the job.  A snippet of the decision is below.

Full Commission Award

If the insurance carrier has denied your workers’ compensation claim, please feel free to contact my office to discuss your options.


Student safety at school

Student safety at school should be a priority for both the parents and school administers.  In fact, North Carolina case law states “the foremost priority of a school principal is undoubtedly student safety.”   In re J.D.R., 206 N.C. App. 761, 699 S.E.2d 139 (2010).  In order to accomplish student safety, a school system should perform due diligence before individuals become employees or volunteers and then, after they are hired, adequately supervise those employees.

A recent situation involving student safety made the news.  A volunteer coach at a local public student shared an illegal substance with a student-athlete.  The situation raised concerns about how the volunteer came to possess the illegal substance on school grounds and the supervision of the volunteer.  The family retained Brian Elston Law in order to determine how this unfortunate situation could happen.

Brian Elston interviewed about school safety

What injuries are the fault of schools?

Schools must supervise their students adequately.  Payne v. N. Carolina Dep’t of Human Res., 95 N.C. App. 309, 313, 382 S.E.2d 449, 451 (1989).  A school system is liable for foreseeable injuries that result from a lack of teacher supervision. Id. In other words, if a school system could foresee that the injury could happen, then the school system has a duty to “protect the safety of students.”  Examples of injuries that could be the responsibility of school officials:

  • Negligent supervision during sporting activities, such as cheerleading events (Davidson v. Univ. of N. Carolina at Chapel Hill, 142 N.C. App. 544, 546, 543 S.E.2d 920, 922 (2001)
  • Student roughhousing when the teacher was not in classroom and knew of students proclivity to horse play;
  • Injuries during homecoming events due to failing to property set up booths;
  • Injuries that arise out of failure to supervise students.

If you or your child has concerns about student safety, please contact my office to discuss your rights and the responsibilities of the school system.

(for a follow up on the news story above see here)