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Do I have a case? Should I even bother?


By Jeremy   Follow   Fri, 30 Nov 2012, 8:36am PST   1,170 views   16 comments
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What's up PatNet bloggers?
I'm looking for some non-partisan advice.

My 9 year old daughter suffered a broken arm due to a slip and fall accident at a shoe store, while we were on vacation in WA state (we live in CA).
I have decent health insurance. So the only costs I incurred were a bunch of co-pays on the ER and Rx's, and multiple dr. followups. Transportation costs for the above (her orthopedist was about 45 miles away). At the most, maybe a couple hundred bucks.
So anyway, in my view, the store was responsible for the accident. The store had a very flawed setup, but then again, shit happens. My daughter had to deal with a lot, but she's a kid, and she's basically back to 100% now.
Right after the accident I had put in a claim with their insurance co. (Nationwide) They said based on what happened, they aren't responsible, and they don't have a "no fault policy". So the adjuster said "claim denied. The end".

So here are my questions,

Should I bother getting a personal injury attorney and suing them?

Other than getting reimbursed a couple hundred bucks, is it worth it at all?

Is pain and suffering worth anything in a 9 yr old? I mean could she conceivably be compensated enough to make a decent college fund for her?

Comments 1-16 of 16     Last »

Peter P   Fri, 30 Nov 2012, 8:41am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 1

Talk to a reputable lawyer and perhaps she can offer some insight.

NOT LEGAL ADVICE

Patrick   Fri, 30 Nov 2012, 8:45am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 2

If it were me, I'd just ask the store to pay for your actual costs to call it even.

Kids fall, shit happens, and they'll probably gladly pay your actual costs in exchange for having you drop it.

Peter P   Fri, 30 Nov 2012, 8:46am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 3

This is yet another reason why we need universal healthcare.

Patrick   Fri, 30 Nov 2012, 8:52am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 4

I agree, but I'd say we need universal health insurance. Meaning that doctors and hospitals etc should probably remain mostly private, but everyone should have a government insurance option that covers standard stuff.

Jeremy   Fri, 30 Nov 2012, 8:53am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 5

Patrick says

If it were me, I'd just ask the store to pay for your actual costs to call it even.

Kids fall, shit happens, and they'll probably gladly pay your actual costs in exchange for having you drop it.

That's a nice idea that a reasonable "person" would probably agree to, but I'm dealing with a different kind of "person" a Large Corporation.

Peter P   Fri, 30 Nov 2012, 8:56am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 6

Patrick says

I agree, but I'd say we need universal health insurance. Meaning that doctors and hospitals etc should probably remain mostly private, but everyone should have a government insurance option that covers standard stuff.

That is something I am fearful of. The industry will simply invent more and more things to charge the taxpayers and their lobbyists will make sure that accountability is kept to a minimum.

I rather have government-run healthcare facilities in addition to private clinics and hospitals.

Peter P   Fri, 30 Nov 2012, 8:59am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 7

Jeremy says

That's a nice idea that a reasonable "person" would probably agree to, but I'm dealing with a different kind of "person" a Large Corporation.

Many companies are quite reasonable if they think you are reasonable. Especially if they believe doing so can avert a lawsuit.

Large companies can afford to fight lawsuits and they can also afford to settle. However corporations do not make decisions. People do. I am talking about people who can get fired.

However, it can be tricky negotiating with them. It is a strategically difficult situation. You do want a lawyer to protect your rights. But doing so will get the other side to put up their defenses.

NOT LEGAL ADVICE

ducsingle5313   Fri, 30 Nov 2012, 9:58am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 8

You need to sit down and make a list of how you were inconvenienced:

*out of pocket medical co-payments
*mileage costs
*your time to deal with the medical issues
*your kid's pain/suffering
*etc.

Questions you should be asking:

Is the shoe store a chain? Do they have a business presence in California? If yes and yes, can you sue them close to home?

What's reasonable compensation for your family being incovenienced? You need a number.

Insurance adjusters will always start out by completely denying the claim if there's a sliver of an argument that their policyholder is not at fault. They are just hoping you will get discouraged and go away.

Call the adjuster and tell them that if they are unwilling to pay you a reasonable amount for the damage that resulted from their policyholder's negligence, that there are numerous personal injury attorneys who are anxious to represent you - - - and that the personal injury attorneys won't be nearly as reasonable as you are being. You should also mention that you believe the insurance company is operating in *bad faith* by denying the claim.

It's a stupid game the insurance companies bring on themselves. If you have a good argument that the store was negligent, the insurance company would never take the risk of litigating because a jury would be very sympathetic towards a 9 year old with a broken arm asking for $3k in damages. And juries get pissed off when it's pretty clear that the policyholder is at fault and the insurance company has tried to screw around with the injured party by denying the claim or lowballing.

zzyzzx   Fri, 30 Nov 2012, 10:56am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 9

It's probably your kids fault.

Jeremy   Fri, 30 Nov 2012, 11:04am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 10

robertoaribas says

you haven't really mentioned what the flawed setup is...

I know, roberto, and that was on purpose. I think any reasonable person with an objective opinion would agree with me. It wasn't extreme negligence or anything, just a bad set up.
It was a shoe store with carpeted aisles. There was only one bench nearby. That bench sat on a small semicircle (roughly 8' x 4') of rather slippery tile. Most businesses are "no shirt, no shoes, no service" but it's a shoe store. She had one shoe on, and one sock on. She went to show her grandpa the shoe. He just sat down on the bench at the end of the aisle. She picked up the foot with the shoe on it so he could see it. She basically was putting her foot in his lap. The socked foot came right out from under her. She tried to reach back to break her fall and both bones in her forearm snapped like a twig.

I would suggest that tile doesn't belong anywhere in that store, but especially not in an area where kids are trying on shoes. Tile in the main entry way/ walk way is one thing. If the bench had been on the carpet area, One: the socked foot wouldn't have slipped, as the carpet had sufficient friction. Two: a fall on a carpeted area would likely have enough shock absorption to protect from major bone injuries.

yup1   Sat, 1 Dec 2012, 3:12am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 11

I would not want the heartache, for a few thousand bucks.

APOCALYPSEFUCKisShostikovitch   Sat, 1 Dec 2012, 3:36am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (3)   Dislike     Comment 12

Teach the kid to wail and send recordings to their lawyers.

ducsingle5313   Sat, 1 Dec 2012, 7:45am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 13

I would recommend visiting several shoe stores to determine the industry standard for carpet vs. hard surface flooring. If all of the stores have wall to wall carpet, that's a good indication that hard surface flooring doesn't belong in a shoe store where folks are walking around in socks. If a few of the stores have a mix or all hard surface flooring, then you might be SOL.

I personally wouldn't consider that setup to be negligent. Plenty of homes have a mix of carpet and hard surfaces, and people walk around in their socks at home all the time.

zzyzzx   Sat, 1 Dec 2012, 7:46am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 14

Plenty, probably most or almost all shoe stores have floors that are not carpeted.

rufita11   Sat, 1 Dec 2012, 8:03am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 15

I bought some cheapo nylon socks and slip a lot in them--even on carpet.

I think teaching a kid how to fall with minimum injury is just as important as teaching them how to swim. Judo is just one discipline that teaches this skill.

elliemae   Sat, 1 Dec 2012, 12:21pm PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 16

I would talk to an attorney, rather than to rely upon our opinions.

My daughter got stuck in a store bathroom when she was 6 years old, poor little kid. The design of the door lock was such that she could trigger the lock but was too short to unlock it. The bathroom was private, meaning no stall door to crawl under.

The store management wasn't thrilled when my husband threatened to call 911 if they didn't allow him to take the door from the hinges - he described the joy of having a bunch of firemen using their axe on the door and they saw it his way.

They also promised to get the door fixed and gave him a free putter (golf store). It was a very nice putter.

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