Slip and Fall Injury Determining whose fault it is

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 5:27 pm   Post subject: Fell walking out of sub shop  

Almost a year ago I fell walking out of a sub shop. There is about a 6 inch drop from the bottom of the door, to the pavement. There isn't a sign warning of the step or anything. When I called the next day, the employee had said that I was not the first person to fall walking in or out of that door. Then I talked to the owner and he mentioned that he had thought of putting a sign warning of the step but cooporate sign issues kept him from doing so.

I inverted my ankle and tore my posterior tibialis tendon. I did 2 months of physical therapy before they did an MRI and found that I had flattening of the tendon. They scheduled surgery the following week to do a debridement thinking it was just inflamed tissue that was irritating the tendon. When they opened me up they found the tear.

I am almost 7 months past the surgery. The tendon is healing and I still have problems standing for long periods of time. My treatment is done though. It is just a waiting game.

So far my medical bills are about $35,000. I had to quit my job because my injury caused me to take many LOA and any further LOA's would not be job protected. So I quit before they got rid of me once I had surgery. Did I make a mistake doing this? My employer is the biggest healthcare provider in my state and I did not want to burn my bridge for when I am ok to work again.

Also, are settlements usually 2-3times your medical bills or not?

Thanks in advance!


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 10:00 pm   Post subject:   

Quote:
I had to quit my job because my injury caused me to take many LOA and any further LOA's would not be job protected. So I quit before they got rid of me once I had surgery.
wait a second...
Quote:
Did I make a mistake doing this?
yeah, I think maybe you (and/or they) did....Do you not have any short and long term disability protection or policy with them? Also why wouldn't you take FMLA?
Quote:
My employer is the biggest healthcare provider in my state and I did not want to burn my bridge for when I am ok to work again.
Did they tell you that you were going to be let go? i don't understand why someone didn't counsel you in FMLA..or if you have a disability policy/coverage that wasn't discussed...Do you also have your health insurance with your employer? If so then who paid for you medical bills?
Quote:
Also, are settlements usually 2-3times your medical bills or not?
no, that's a a myth really...They certainly will owe your medical bills, your loss wages, (not after you quit, but lost wages while you were working) plus an injury settlement assuming they accept liability for the accident...Have they? Have you talked to an adjuster from this company? Do they (the adjuster) know you are ready to talk settlement? What if any discussion about negligence/liability has there been? (don't get mad at me now, just playing devils advocate Wink ) I could see them putting some percentage of the liability on you, since you walked in the door, therefore knew it was like that. Is this the first time you have ever been there? Also what state did this occur in? and have you EVER had any other slip and fall/work comp claims, and/or ANY problems with that ankle before?


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2010 2:25 pm   Post subject: RE:  

Thanks for replying!

FMLA in Wisconsin only allows up to 6 weeks job protected leave. I had a surgery in April last year that used up 4 weeks and then when I injured my ankle I used a total of 5 weeks. The last time I needed to take leave I was told that it was not job protected and that they could not guarantee my job. I asked my boss specifically if I was going to have a job when I got back (I had a cast put on to immobilize my ankle) and he said that he could not say yes or no.

My insurance through my job paid for my medical bills, but I had a $5000 deductible. So pretty much everything before my surgery was out of pocket.

I had been at this sub shop a couple times but there are 2 entrances. The first entrance is fine. I usually go in that door. This time I had parked in a different spot and came in this particular door. I did not notice the ledge when I came in. I must have stepped up right at the right time and then didn't notice it. When I was walking out, I stepped down expecting an even surface and there was not. The owner and employees have acknowledged the danger in the step. The owners insurance wrote to me and is denying any fault and that it is the buildings owners fault. So there are 2 ins. companies fighting it out.

Thanks!


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2010 9:10 pm   Post subject:   

What has the carrier that insures the building had to say?



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 6:14 pm   Post subject:   

The building owners insurance company is being pretty good about it. They have offered $5000 right now to pay for my copays and deductibles until a settlement has been reached. Whatever we use of the $5000 gets deducted out of the settlement amount.

So there are 2 insurance companies coming into play with this. I have a feeling it is going to be them battling out who is at fault.

I am meeting with the lawyer tomorrow to go over how things are going to happen. Do you have any suggestions on questions I should ask? I am completely clueless on all of this!


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 6:34 pm   Post subject: Slip and Fall UPDATE  

2 1/2 YEARS and counting:

Just thought I would get you guys an update on my Slip and Fall case.

We went to settlement mediation (state ordered) with the Grocery store and let me tell you, that was a eye opener. let me set the stage for you. My current medical is at $90,000 and still have another surgery and future medical. the stores opening statement was, Yes the machine was leaking, wow look at her fall on the stores bad video, yes we own the ice machine BUT we don't think we should have to pay for her injuries. We think the refrigeration maintenance co is at fault. Since WE do not want to bring them into the lawsuit because we have a good 20 year working relationship with them WE will have an empty chari defence. The stores opening offer was $20,000. WHAT did I hear them right. We were suppose to be in mediation for 3 hours. after 8 1/2 hours they had come up to $100,000 and I was ready to go, I was sooo DONE.



Since that time my attorney has ammended our lawsuit and dragged the refrigeration co into the lawsuit. When he depo'ed the refrigeration guy he said that the leak would NOT have happened had they maintanined the machine like they were suppose to. BINGO. My attorney says the Ref. Co is neglient for the leak and the store is negligent for the water on the floor. He is going after both of them.



We have ANOTHER settlement mediation meeting with both store and Refrigeration co middle of July and if we STILL do not settle then we are on the trial docket for August.



I can tell you I have learned more about doctors, back and nerve injuries and lawsuits then I ever wanted to know.



ANYONE think they will actually settle this time around?
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 10:40 pm   Post subject:   

Quote:
We think the refrigeration maintenance co is at fault. Since WE do not want to bring them into the lawsuit because we have a good 20 year working relationship with them WE will have an empty chari defence.
Perfectly good/reasonable and sounds like, correct defense. If someone else is partially at fault it's not the stores fault that you don't want to collect from this party.



I was about to say that frankly I did not understand why your attorney had not talked you into bring in the refridge company but then I read the rest of your post:
Quote:
Since that time my attorney has ammended our lawsuit and dragged the refrigeration co into the lawsuit.
I have no idea why this was not done before the mediation. Not doing this just wasted everyone's time as it left a huge gap in the settlement for everyone. No matter what amount you were looking for, how was the store supposed to reach that amount without knowing what amount the refridge company might offer? Can you see it from the stores perspective? I'm guessing the store did not have a contract with the refridge company or the store should have brought them in as 3rd party defendant (I can't stress enough to any business how important it is to have a _written_ contract).

Quote:
My attorney says the Ref. Co is neglient for the leak and the store is negligent for the water on the floor. He is going after both of them.
No offense against your attorney but this is why I said he was wasting everyone's time in having event the mediation without naming the refridge company. If the insurance companies attorney did not point this out to your attorney, I'd blame them as well.

Quote:
ANYONE think they will actually settle this time around?
First let me say that I've been to hundreds of mediation/arbitrations but always for the insurance company. So win/lose... it's never my money. So when I attend a mediation it means I have a chance to close a claim. It's also easy work as, and you found this out, it's a lot of waiting around.



Something settling in mediation is _always_ 50/50. There is not way to tell. It can settle if you are willing to accept what is offered... it can settle if the insurance company is willing to pay what your asking. Usually a settlement happens when both parties are willing to compromise and take/offer a little less/more then they want. What usually happens is that the mediator (if he/she is good) will beat each party up enough through the day until they are both willing to give up a little. Personally, I think most settlements come about because the mediator is good at what he/she does.



The way I look at it, from either side, is that the attorney needs to convince the mediator that their case is _perfect_. How this is done is almost an art. In some cases the attorney might need to stroke the mediator. This might mean "seeing" the mediators point and offer some very good counter points. This might mean pointing out the "obvious" weaknesses of the other parties case. There are many ways to do this and this is why some attorneys do better then others.



Personally, I'm a little worried that your attorney did not being int he refridge company from the very start. I'm not an attorney but this would have been the _first_ thing I did. The more money bags at the table, the better. If you don't think they should pay, you could always be willing to let them go for nothing or very little. But at least you'd have their info through depos. As you can see... it turned out to be _very_ important!
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 11:27 pm   Post subject: Slip and Fall Injury - Determining whose at fault  

I know that the store had a service agreement with the refrigeration co but I do not know the details. the store always said that THEY were going to bring them into it. They kept heming and hawing and saying they hated to do it because they had a long standing 20 yr working relation with them. When the store attorney said they would go forward without bring them in and said they would have an Empty Chair defense my attorney totally lost it and slammed his fist down and said Oh NO we will NOT. then he told them that we were ammending out lawsuit to include them, so we did and now all depo's except my hubbys (which the stores attorneys are doing 2 days BEFORE the settlement mediation (nothing like waiting till the last minute, right?).



QUESTION: I have $105,000 I was told (NOT by attorney) that the pain and suffering is normally 3 to 5 times the medical. Do you know if that is a general rule of thumb.



I know what our bottom is for settlement and I know what my attorney says that the case is worth but I was just curious if that 3 to 5 times is right

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 29, 2010 12:16 am   Post subject:   

Quote:
QUESTION: I have $105,000 I was told (NOT by attorney) that the pain and suffering is normally 3 to 5 times the medical. Do you know if that is a general rule of thumb
Hear this a lot and it's just not correct as it _never_ takes into consideration 1) what the injury was (a stubed toe is worth a lot less then a missing limb and 2) what the treatment and lasting affects are.



Some minor injuries need a lot of ongoing treatment. Some injuries people never heal from. Some big injuries need very little treatment. The 2x or 3x thought does not consider any of this. Heck, I've seen some people treat a soft tissue injury for 6 months (over treatment).



Adjuster don't (and by law) cannot apply "rules of thumb" to an injury. They need to consider each one separately.... based on that particular claim. This is where some companies got into trouble when using computer programs to estimate settlements. While they can be used to give a "general" idea of what a claim is worth, they can't be used as the only means.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 29, 2010 12:49 am   Post subject: Slip and Fall injury - determining whose fault it is  

Thanks TCOPE. Injuries where do I begin. Injuries include permanent nerve damage to the ulna nerve in arm, 3 bulging disks in lumbar spine that are pressing on sciatica nerve, straining in the pelvic girdle and strained tendons in knees. Treatments 2 MRIs, 2 nerve tests, 8 weeks of phy therapy, 1 arm surgery, 5 weeks of phy therapy, 1 steroid shot in knee, 3 single steroid shots in spine, 1 three shot series in spine, 5 sessions of Percutaneous Neuromodulation Therapy (electrified needle therapy on back), too many to count pain pills and muscle relaxers. Orthopeadic dr says numbness in name is permanent, Pain Management (anestologist) says the back is as good as it is gonna get and will need the shots the rest of my llife. I am so afraid of getting hooked on the pain meds that I stop taking them and just stay in pain all the time.



It is hard when you go from active and never having any knee/back/hand problems to having so much pain.



Right now I do not think they have enough money to pay me for my pain. I told my family I should have let them starve on the Easter (Good Friday) that I fell.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2010 3:22 am   Post subject: slip and fall  

I was walking through a local department/ grocery store. I noticed a small puddle of water on the floor. I walked around it only to slip on some sort of oil. I slid approximately three feet before falling and landing on my right knee. I have a rod in my leg from a previous injury. So, surprisingly, because of the rod, my tib/fib seems ok (so far). It is my knee that is messed up. A store employee witnessed my fall, as well as a friend I was with. The manager showed up as I was attempting to get myself off the floor. She and my friend both took pictures of the water, oil, and my my red, bruised, and swollen knee and ankle. Because I was unable to put any pressure on my leg at all, I was taken to the ER. At the hospital, x-rays were taken. I was told that I had a sprained ankle and that I needed to make an apt with my orthopedic surgeon to evaluate my knee injury and go from there. The evening of the incident, my lower back started really hurting. It is extremely painful and swollen. So now I am in a leg brace from my ankle to my thigh. I am on meds for the pain, but I am having a hard time doing even the smallest chore. I have an event planning business and everything has been put on hold until I am back on my feet. I guess my question is whether I am entitled to some sort of compensation...even if it is just for my medical costs.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2010 11:47 am   Post subject:   

Quote:
guess my question is whether I am entitled to some sort of compensation...even if it is just for my medical costs.
yes, you are.



Pattycake, I'm with Tcope, I don't understand why your atty didn't bring the maint. company in day one! Most atty's will like/file against EVERY deep pocket in sight! Little bit worrisome.



Kariann - that 5k is probably medpay, I'd think that the both the biz. and the building owner would bare some responsibility in this. The biz, because if this was a dangerous entrance, they should've MADE the owner repair it or close that entrance.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 2:20 am   Post subject: Slip and Fall  

My attorney has file a Motion of Spoliation Rvidence and for adverse inference jury instruction against the store.



Can you tell me what that means and if the store will be in trouble for destroying the rug that was evidence in my fall?



We did not settle at the 2nd mediation meeting and we are on the tril docket for August.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 2:27 am   Post subject:   

Spoliation of Evidence is when someone disposes of evidence that can be used at trial. In this case your attorney was not allowed to inspect the rug and present it as evidence. An attorney can file a motion for just about anything. Many times they are valid but many times that are just bargaining chips... that, and you never know how a judge is going to rule. They can also be used as grounds for an appeal if the decision does not go your way. In a nut shell, your attorney should file that motion, regardless.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 11:38 pm   Post subject: Slip and Fall  

Thanks TCOPE. My attorney has filed that motion and he is not the only party in the case who is filing it. I am sueing the store and the refrigeration company. The store and the refrigeration co are fighting with each other as to who is to blame or the most to blame. As far as we are concerned they are both at fault. The Refrigeration Co for the leaking machine they did not maintain properly and the store for not cleaning up the water.



What kind of trouble could the store be in for destroying the rug when they were noticed to preserve all evidence?


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