I Did That “Eat in the Dark” Experience and Burned My Leg with Food That Dropped, Can I Sue Them?
In the age of young people emphasizing experiences over material possessions, many fun experiences emerge on a nearly daily basis. One of the most recent and exciting is the “eat in the dark” experience. This experience can be memorable for many people who are looking to augment their normal dining experience. However, there is always the off chance that something might go wrong and someone could be injured. In the case of injury, victims need to be aware of their rights and adjacent laws before considering their next steps.
The “Eat in the Dark” Experience
The “eat in the dark” experience is a relatively new phenomenon based off of an older premise of live dinner theater. Dinner theater involves a number of different activities that are performed to entertain people while they are eating. They most famously include shows where pirates swing from the rafters or dancers perform on an old-fashioned stage. There are also scenarios where a fake murder happens and the assembled individuals have to figure out who was responsible.
In the case of an “eat in the dark” experience, the purpose is more artistic than entertainment. Individuals literally eat in the dark in an attempt to absorb the experience of a meal using their other senses. They have to find ways to use their utensils and hone their senses of smell, taste, touch, and hearing. This effort can be somewhat exhilarating for many individuals. But the experience of fumbling around in the dark with forks and knives can inevitably increase the risk of serious injury. Individuals are also susceptible to hot food that may be dropped onto their leg. Dropping hot food can cause considerable burns and is no laughing matter. Burns are some of the most painful injuries that an individual can suffer through. Resulting hospital visits could cost an individual thousands of dollars.
For people who are injured during these events, there are sometimes waivers that constrain their legal options. Some particularly adventurous “eat in the dark” events may have some experience with individuals who are injured during the event. This experience may lead them to craft legal waivers that individuals are forced to sign before participating in the event. Legal waivers are crafted in precise language that lays out specifically what will happen at an event and what the possible risks are.
Recourse and Waivers
A person who signs the waiver acknowledges that they understand the risks involved. They admit that they understand those risks and that they waive many of their legal rights. Such a waiver may make it more difficult for an individual to sue. However, they are far from airtight. Some legal waivers that “eat in the dark” experience providers require may be problematic. They may include language that violates the rights of individuals or is much too broad.
There is the possibility that “eat in the dark” contracts could involve obligations that the organizers of the event did not meet. Organizers may not have been trained in first-aid for injuries. Their lack of training may have led to the problems being exacerbated. There is the possibility that waivers could have been poorly explained to an individual. It is the job of a trained, skilled lawyer to parse these documents closely in order to ensure that an individual may be able to work their way out of a legal waiver and have a right to sue for damages.
In instances where there are not waivers, an individual may still be constrained in their possible legal recourse. Courts that look at such events take a close look at an individual’s actions when determining whether or not they will receive damages for an injury. They try to figure out if an individual’s actions were reasonable. A person taking unreasonable actions would not be able to win a case in most instances. Their lawyer would advise them to either settle or seek compensation elsewhere.
For instance, if an individual was acting recklessly and against the advice of the hosts at a “eat in the dark” dinner, a court may decide that they are at fault for their actions and are not eligible for monetary compensation. This behavior may involve running around in the dark dining room or flailing one’s arms during dinner. In other cases, it is possible for an individual to argue that an event occurred outside of the guidance of organizers that requires those organizers to provide monetary damages. These moments are quite possible at an event where a person is cutting and eating hot food in the dark.
What to Do
If an individual is injured during an “eat in the dark” experience, they should first seek medical attention. They need to make sure that they are well and that any burns have healed sufficiently. Once those burns have healed, the injured individual should seek the help of a lawyer. The lawyer will instruct them to gather any documents that they may have signed associated with the event. Then, the lawyer involved will most likely contact the other party and attempt to procure a settlement. Most “eat in the dark” organizers are relatively small companies that operate on close margins.
They are not well-equipped for a long, arduous lawsuit that might bring unwelcome media spotlight. In many cases, they also want to avoid the process of discovery. A comprehensive discovery request may involve a company providing tens of thousands of documents that scrutinize their every decision and transaction. Settlements mean that these companies can pay a certain amount and avoid all of the problems associated with a trial. If these efforts do not work, there may need to be a trial anyway. The trial will often result in a judgment either for or against the plaintiff on the merits of their claim against the “eat in the dark” organizer.
The “eat in the dark” experience will be an exciting one for the vast majority of people involved. But for those who are somehow injured, they need to be aware of their rights and their legal situation. They need to remain vigilant and contact outside counsel. A lawyer will ensure that they receive the best representation possible no matter the outcome of their case.