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Personal Injury - What should I do?
Old 12-17-2007, 09:12 AM   #1
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Personal Injury - What should I do?

Over the weekend we were at the supermarket - no names, but it is a "huge" national chain, if you get my drift - and I slipped on some gunk on the floor & injured my leg. Nothing broken, but my hamstring was wrenched pretty bad; it hurt like hell.
Got checked out at the nearby urgent care facility, got some pain killers, & have spent the time since pretty much immobile. I'll be starting some physical therapy tomorrow.

The manager said their people would be in touch with me. So here's my question: what approach should I take with them when they call? I'm not a litigious sort, but feel that they should, at a minimum, spring for the medical bill(s) . I'm not comfortable with the "pain & suffering" kind of claim, but that's what I'm experiencing, not to mention considerable inconvenience & curtailment of activity for the next couple of weeks.

Any thoughts, caveats, advice...?
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Old 12-17-2007, 09:23 AM   #2
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Just be sure that you don't settle up too quick, as sometimes it takes awhile to know how injured you are and whether there is any permanent injury.

Your health insurance company may inquire as to how you got injured and may want the supermarket to pay before they will pay. Though because I am not a PI lawyer, I don't really know how your health insurance coordinates with a PI claim.

Any lost wages?

You might at least want to talk to a PI lawyer, even if you don't retain one.
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Old 12-17-2007, 09:23 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by BOBOT View Post
Over the weekend we were at the supermarket - no names, but it is a "huge" national chain, if you get my drift - and I slipped on some gunk on the floor & injured my leg. Nothing broken, but my hamstring was wrenched pretty bad; it hurt like hell.
Got checked out at the nearby urgent care facility, got some pain killers, & have spent the time since pretty much immobile. I'll be starting some physical therapy tomorrow.

The manager said their people would be in touch with me. So here's my question: what approach should I take with them when they call? I'm not a litigious sort, but feel that they should, at a minimum, spring for the medical bill(s) . I'm not comfortable with the "pain & suffering" kind of claim, but that's what I'm experiencing, not to mention considerable inconvenience & curtailment of activity for the next couple of weeks.

Any thoughts, caveats, advice...?
Where there witnesses? Maybe find that out...... Also,it sounds like the chain appears willing to pay medical claims for you. See how that plays out. You can always get a lawyer and go after them if theyt don't play nice............
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Old 12-17-2007, 09:53 AM   #4
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In these cases I've found it's better to be safe than sorry. Find a lawyer and let them do their job...you can instruct the lawyer however you want but the chain will be MUCH more responsive with your lawyer on board.
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Old 12-17-2007, 10:16 AM   #5
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My wife used to handle claims exactly like this, twenty years ago, so I don't know if things have changed, but...

These things happen, the stores know it, and they will usually try to do the 'right thing'. Partially for customer good will, partially to avoid long drawn out litigation. They want to close the cases.

But also remember that they get a *lot* of fraudulent claims, so do not take some skepticism on their part as trying to scam you - they need to be skeptical to a degree.

If it clearly their fault, payment of all bills, and some compensation for your time and inconvenience ('pain and suffering') is reasonable. If you would like some guidance on what is 'reasonable', I could ask DW later, but off the top of my head, I'd say:

'Hurt like hell' - ummm, $17 million bux, minimum

-ERD50

PS - I'm not certain you need a lawyer, I'll ask DW, but if the injury does turn out to be straightforward with no long term complications, you might be better off DIY.
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Old 12-17-2007, 10:27 AM   #6
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keep a daily journal of your pain and suffering. Just a few notes on the extent of your pain, curtailment in activity level, etc. Might help to justify a claim for pain and suffering later on. Something as objective as possible (even though it is inherently subjective). This level of detail would be better than saying "it hurt like hell for a few weeks and I couldn't do nothing the whole time".
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Old 12-17-2007, 11:19 AM   #7
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Take your time and get the treatment you need to take care of yourself; keep good records of the treatment; if you don't have the names of witnesses who saw the "gunk" on the floor and you falling, then you should inquire if the company did an accident/incident report on your fall.

Generally, risk managment people at the chain (or the claims adjuster for chain's insurance company) will not initiate a call to you -- they're hoping inertia or ignorance will prevail from their standpoint. You will likely have to engage them, with or without assistance of a lawyer, before any progress is made in getting you squared.

Regarding Martha's comment about coordination of insurance claims, your health insurance policy is typically your first line of of payment for any medical expenses covered under your policy, regardless of whether you might have liability claims against some other entity. However, some health insurance policies have subrogation clauses that entitle the health insurance carrier to be subrogated to any claim you might have against the company for medical expenses. If your health insurance policy contains a subrogation clause, this means that any payment of medical expenses by the company (or its liability carrier) to you would have to remitted to the health insurance company to the extent that it paid for those expenses under its insurance policy. You essentially don't get reimbursed twice for medical expenses under a subrogation clause.
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Old 12-17-2007, 11:43 PM   #8
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Do not sign off on any paperwork from the chain accepting "x" as "settlement in full" before a good long while has gone by and you are sure there is no permanent injury or limitation.

Be sure your doctor clears you for healing and any possible after-effects.

In the meantime, contact the chain, tell them you have medical bills, etc, and initiate conversation with them on the subject.
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Old 12-19-2007, 05:54 PM   #9
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I would say at least talk to an attorney. One of the things he/she will do (if they have any sense) will be to get copies of the store's security surveillance tapes. This may negate the "it didn't happen" defense. These tapes (or more often hard drives now) are overwritten in as little as a few days but most often weekly.

As the others said, wait until you're sure you're recovered before signing off on it. My wife's car was re-ended, the injury didn't show for several days, and it took six months of physical therapy to heal it.

No one but you is going to look after your best interests!

Settlement should include payment of all medical and attorney's fees, plus something for your pain. $17 million is probably a bit much, but maybe they'll settle for a shopping cart full of filet mignon.
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Old 12-20-2007, 12:58 PM   #10
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..... get copies of the store's security surveillance tapes. This may negate the "it didn't happen" defense. These tapes (or more often hard drives now) are overwritten in as little as a few days but most often weekly. Good idea.

.......

Settlement should include payment of all medical and attorney's fees, plus something for your pain. $17 million is probably a bit much, but maybe they'll settle for a shopping cart full of filet mignon. That would work!
Thanks to all who have replied. I've had PT & am told I'll be a couple of weeks getting back to normal (whatever that is). I'm actually much better already.

I did hear from the company's rep, both he & I were polite but non-committal. He was getting my story, & said he would send paperwork to open the claim. I'm not worried about them covering the med costs, but I'm feeling ambivalent about going after more than that. I'm mellowing in ER, I guess. I have so much to be grateful for that I don't want to get all lathered up over a simple accident.
But if they jerk me around I'll hire one of the local pit bulls.

Merry Christmas, everybody!
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