Do I have a case despite waiting 3 weeks before doing anything about a slip and fall?

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Do I have a case despite waiting 3 weeks before doing anything about a slip and fall?

I fell down inside a coffee shop a few weeks ago (I have the date available as well as a receipt to prove I was there if need be). Many customers as well as some employees saw me go down. I thought I had sprained my ankle and treated it accordingly. I believe now that I have a lisfranc fracture which will require me to go to the doctor, get X-rayed and either a cast or minor surgery depending on its severity. I have a very high deductible which I have not met, so I cannot afford to do this out of pocket (or I wouldn’t even think about it). Do I have any case since I waited 3 weeks? Should I speak with a personal injury attorney? In Raleigh, NC.

Asked on August 12, 2011 North Carolina

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you have a case. Sometimes injuries don't show up immediately after an accident. So, waiting three weeks does NOT prevent you from pursuing your personal injury claim.  When you begin your medical treatment, you want to go to all medical appointments because gaps in treatment will have an adverse effect on the amount you recover.

Your personal injury claim should be filed with the insurance carrier for the coffee shop.  You can go to a doctor, who will take the case on a lien basis which means the doctor is paid out of the settlement of the case.  When you complete your medical treatment and are released by the doctor or are declared by the doctor to be permanent and stationary which means no further improvement is anticipated, obtain your medical bills, medical reports, and documentation of any wage loss.  The personal injury claim you file with the insurance carrier for the coffee shop will consist of the medical bills, medical reports, and documentation of any wage loss.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the coffee shop.  If the case is settled, no lawsuit is filed.  If the case is NOT settled, you will need to file your lawsuit for negligence against the coffee shop prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.

It would be advisable to speak with a personal injury attorney.  The personal injury attorney may have a list of doctors who will provide you with medical treatment on a lien basis which as mentioned above means the doctor is paid out of the settlement.


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