When someone sustains an injury as the result of negligence at a franchise – such as at a chain restaurant – the injured will have to determine if it is the franchisor’s business strategy that ultimately caused the accident or the franchisee’s poor execution of the business’s rules.
If you’ve been injured at a retail or restaurant chain, a local premises liability attorney can help you determine and establish liability, and help you navigate the claims process.
Franchisor vs. Franchisee Liability
If you slip and fall and sustain head injuries in a Burger King for instance, who do you sue: the local Burger King owner (franchisee), or the Burger King Corporation as a whole (franchisor)? The answer is: It depends. Liability is contingent upon the details of the franchise agreement.
If the franchisor retained a lot of rights over the actions and functions of the chain, it might be liable for injuries that occur in the franchise. In other words, did the franchisor have control over the day-to-day operations of the store or restaurant? Most franchise agreements have clauses that protect the franchisor from liability, but not always.
To better illustrate, below are two examples of franchise premises liability – one in which the courts held the franchisor liable, and one in which they didn’t.
- Franchisor liability: In Patterson v. Domino’s Pizza, LLC, the courts held that the franchisor was liable for harassment injuries because it assumed the right of general control over franchisee's employment practices. The franchisor provided the franchisee with an operation manual that was “a veritable bible for overseeing a Domino’s operation” and “literally [left] nothing to chance.”
- Franchisee liability: Conversely, in Hong Wu v. Dunkin’ Donuts, the courts did not find Dunkin’ Donuts franchisor responsible for a robbery and battery that occurred at one of its franchises because the franchisor provided no instruction on and exercised no authority over how to secure the store.
Injured at a chain restaurant in Atlanta? Call Jason Schultz
If you were injured at a franchise in Atlanta, you are welcomed to contact the Law Office of Jason Schultz for a free legal consultation. Call us today for at 404-474-0804.