I recently received an email inquiry on a legal question and answer site that I thought I would share with our readers. Here is the question:
I slipped on water in Wal-Mart. There was no sign noting the water and I broke my hip. Had to have surgery and surgeon said I would most likely need a hip replacement. Should I get an attorney and how much should I ask for?
I am sorry to hear about your fall and injury. I am glad that you are getting the medical attention that you need.
The short answer to your question is that you should contact an attorney immediately. You should seek the counsel of an attorney experienced with supermarket and department store cases in your state. If you need help finding an attorney, you can contact your local bar association or a site like Avvo.
You ask about the value of your case. Without knowing more details, I cannot comment on the case value. I can share some information on what it will take to build a case and to determine the value of the case.
To prevail in a claim against Wal-Mart, you will need to establish two arguments:
- You need to show that someone else’s negligence or recklessness caused the incident.
- You need to show that you suffered damages because of this negligence.
You suffered a broken hip, which is clear evidence of damages. You say that you slipped on some water and there was no sign warning patrons about the water. You will need to show that the store either caused the water to be there (e.g., a puddle formed when someone was mopping the floor or from a leaky pipe) or that the store know about the puddle (or should have known about it) and failed to clean it up or warn customers about the hazard. The store needed to have known about the water on the floor (in legal terms, this means they had to have notice) and they had to have a reasonable opportunity to clean up the water or warn shoppers of the hazard.
The damages suffered in a slip and fall case will vary widely depending on the nature of the injury, the required treatment, the outcome after treatment and the impact on the person’s life. Obviously, a broken hip that requires surgery is a significant injury. You will need to show that the need for hip replacement surgery was due to this incident.
In our practice, we begin by interviewing our clients about their injuries and the impact the injuries have on their lives. If clients missed work or the injuries had other impacts on their lives, we collect supporting documentation such as wage records or testimony about the limits the injury has created. For example, if you cared for young children and can no longer do so because of your hip injury, we would gather testimony from friends and family who could describe that limitation.
We will collect medical records and consult with our medical reviewer to assess the records and to determine the best way to present them. With the analysis of the medical records complete, we research similar cases to determine what the courts have awarded for similar injuries. Just as importantly, we research what the appeals courts have upheld in similar cases. While each case is unique and stands on its own merits, case and trial research provides a foundation for arguments to maximize compensation.
So you can see, determining the value of a case and maximizing the value of a case is quite involved. Once you retain an attorney, your lawyer should be able to tell you the value of your case.
I hope this information helps and that you are able to make a full recovery.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a slip and fall or trip and fall incident, you may want to consult a New York personal injury attorney experienced with slip and fall cases. We have handled many department store and supermarket cases. We would be glad to answer your questions and assist you. You can call us at 1-800-660-1466 or email us. You can also visit our website or read more on our blog, New York Law Thoughts.
This material is intended for informational uses only. It is not meant as legal advice. To receive legal advice, you should consult an attorney. Remember, past results do not guarantee similar outcomes in the future.
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