Personal Injury Law (Accidents/Slip & Fall)/Slipped on wet stairs in restaurant, fractured my foot
I was walking down 3 stairs at a restaurant (out of town)to get to the dance floor and slipped and fell. It had been raining the majority of the day and the wooden stairs were wet. A gentleman helped me up and informed me that he had slipped and fell down the same stairs two weeks earlier. I went back to sit down with my husband, informing him & our friend (who works at the restaurant). She gave me a bag of ice. I iced it and had a couple drinks before I was in too much pain to stand it anymore. My husband helped me out to the car. Our friend informed the manager of what happened so my husband brought out an incident report for me to fill out. The manager told my husband that he put down non-slip gripping on the other sets of stairs in the restaurant but just not that set. I went to the local urgent care the next morning to discover I fractured my fifth metatarsal. I have been in severe pain since and am having terrible difficulties getting around, as I have a two story house and a four year old. I have since spoke to the owner who contacted her insurance company. I am still waiting to hear from them. Do I have a claim against them? Could I get pain and suffering and lost wages?
Dr. Settlement, J.D. (Juris Doctor) is on a short vacation, but it is such a hassle to make a formal vacation logout on this site, and we are at our condo just five days to do some maintenance, so I did not put myself on vacation. I am GLAD I did not because your claim has some SERIOUS value (e.g. it could be a good solid claim, entitling you to recovery of all damages: lost wages, medical costs, and pain and suffering) AND some SERIOUS potential problems. And I would not want the adjusters here or others here at allexperts.com to get ahold of your question and give you their usual five sentence response. Instead, I will give you more than three hours of my time to give you something that will help you.
I have A LOT of work already invested into your claim, with a long report coming tonight or tomorrow morning, depending upon when I hear back from a law firm on using their materials in my answer to you. I did a lot of digging and I finally came to a table on contributory fault law prepared by a law office that does solely work for the insurance industry. I have sent them an email seeking permission to publish their table in my remaining answers I will give to you in my amended answer tonight—lol—once you see how hard I am going to hit you on the topic of NO TALKING WHATSOEVER with the insurance adjuster, perhaps you will never want to hear from me again!
BTW, that is how we do it: we write an amended answer—so be on the lookout for that. Oh, and if you wish to contact me, I should also give you instructions on how to do that via our insurance settlement help website www.SettlementCentral.Com.
But there is need right now to communicate since this is a workday and the adjuster might try to contact you. Please DO NOT EVEN SPEAK with her just now. Please wait until you have read all that I am preparing for you, Victoria.
The good news: you DO have a pretty solid claim, and you ARE entitled to both specific damages, such as lost wages and medical costs, PLUS general damages, such as pain and suffering to date and in the future (as supported by your doctor’s notes).
Question from Victoria: “Aren’t you being a bit over-dramatic in all that you have written here about not speaking with the adjuster, Dr. Settlement??”
Dr. Settlement ANSWER: NO! I cannot stress enough, Victoria, that North Carolina, being one of only four states with this terrible contributory negligence trap, favors the insurance industry, NOT the victims of negligence. And if you—OR your HUSBAND— were to get on the phone with this adjuster, I can almost guarantee you that within just a brief conversation, she can elicit from you sufficient information to make a viable defense of contributory negligence on your part. And under your regressive state law, that will KILL YOUR CLAIM. Sidebar: I bring your husband into the conversation solely because he is also a valuable witness, and of course someone who had an objective view of the whole thing. OK?
One other thing about this, Victoria: the adjuster is operating on HER TURF—she knows how to manipulate the conversation. And you are a visitor on her turf—someone, no matter how smart you are—who does not know how to win at this game. And yes, it is in fact a game of sorts, with unwritten rules of engagement that the adjuster knows about, but which you must learn if you want to face off on the phone or worse, in person. Hence, avoid her demand to come out and “let’s just have a little visit.” There is NO “LITTLE QUICK VISIT”—every conversation will be aimed at gathering information to kill your claim.
So I implore you in the strongest terms: never ever give this adjuster any verbal communications. NOT NOW—NOT IN A WEEK—NOT EVER. Tell her you and your husband are very cooperative and want to give her all she needs to pay your claim, BUT only in writing—emails are fine.
Oh, you will not believe the pressure they lay on you—they will make it seem as if you are a terrorist if you refuse to speak with them. And it sounds so innocent—it sounds like the right thing to do—but DO NOT DO IT, Victoria!
You have not one little bit of duty to speak with the adjuster—nor do you have to fall for her sweetness tone.
Sweet Talk From Adjuster: “Vickie, we just want to get your side of what happened, that is all. What are you afraid of, or what are you hiding? All I need is just a couple of sentences to tell us how this happened and you will never be bothered by me again. Oh, and by the way, can you please arrange for your husband to be there? I am sure he has a few things he recalls, and all we really need from both of you is just a few moments of your time—just to help me set the scene so we can get your claim started and perhaps we can wrap this up in your favor real soon. Doesn’t that sound fair?”
VICTORIA’S ANSWER: Thank you for your kind offer to cooperate in making a fair settlement. But I am going to respectfully decline to communicate with you, except in writing. When the time comes, I will present you with the facts to support my claim. If there is anything you wish to communicate or for me to respond, kindly use my email: (insert your email address).”
BTW, same goes for your husband: NO CONTACT WHATSOEVER. Your chain is only as strong as the weakest link, so do NOT NOW OR EVER allow your husband to communicate with the adjuster except in writing—emails preserve what she says a lot better than taking notes on her phone messages.
Please wait for me to give you the reasons that make this a requirement if you are going to have a solid claim and not one that is dismissed for your own contributory negligence. OK?
Here is what I want to do, Victoria:
#1. Warn you to HAVE NO CONVERSATION WHATSOEVER with the representative of the restaurant until you read my warnings (to be sent once I hear back from that law firm). Avoid answering their call, and if they do get through to you, say nothing.
NO--- do not get involved in what seems idle chitchat. It is NOT just innocent chitchat--EVERY WORD you say WILL be used against you--more so than usual because of the unusual structure of your state laws dealing with contributory negligence. That means your own negligence. Yes, Victoria, if I were the adjuster, I could ask you three questions and thereby get you to admit certain facts that would put the cloud of negligence—your OWN NEGLIGENCE on your claim.
#2. And in your "red state" where the insurance industry is in bed with the lawmakers, even that cloud of YOUR OWN negligence could be enough to kill your claim. Which, by the way, IS in fact a good claim, and it IS in fact a claim in which you can get ALL DAMAGES, including lost wages, personal household help costs, and pain and suffering--both now and in the future. But ONLY IF you do follow what I am going to give to you about avoiding the adjuster for the restaurant.
#3. Do NOT let the adjuster lay a implication on you that if you do not allow her to take your recorded statement you and your husband are some kind of economic terrorists---honestly, Victoria THAT is the extent to which these guys will stoop just to get the victims of their insureds to give them a recorded statement. And I want to forewarn you and prepare you so you can BE STRONG and know your rights.
They DO NOT HAVE ANY RIGHT WHATSOEVER TO REQUIRE YOU TO GIVE THEM A RECORDED STATEMENT. If victims (like you) elect to give in and make a statement, they will ALWAYS regret it--no exceptions. I will give you some very helpful insurance claim help at www.SettlementCentral.Com website teaches how to fight for your insurance claim rights.
#4. Let’s start off with some very helpful and supportive information from our bodily injury claim SettlementCentral.Com help online fair insurance claim results website pages dealing with HOW TO FIGHT the adjuster when she insists you MUST give her a recorded statement. I wish every one of my clients had read and abided by this valuable insurance claim guide www.SettlementCentral.Com adjuster tricks and tactics exposed.
See our best ever insurance claim help http://www.settlementcentral.com/page0206.htm
website teaches how to deal with an insurance adjuster who is DEMANDING you give a recorded statement. Here is just the introduction to that page:
“Please say one 100 times and write on the board 50 times: "I will politely decline to give any recorded statements to any insurance adjusters at any time."
“You will barely be able to believe the pressure that insurance adjusters will put on you to make a recorded statement. It is against the law for them to record you without your permission, and they likely will not do that. They have to ask you.
“The tortfeasor's insurance company, the third party carrier, will try to get your statement under the ruse that it needs your version of the accident - just for the records - to confirm liability against their insured, and they need your medical information to make a fair settlement. So, then, why don't you just cooperate and give them a recorded statement so they can get on with it and settle your case?”
ANSWER: please read that helpful insurance claim www.SettlementCentral.Com website help page (above) on NO recorded statements to see WHY it is so harmful to give a recorded statement.
Remember this: no matter how many lies that adjuster tries to lay on you, there IS NOT NOW NOR EVER WILL BE ANY REQUIREMENT TO GIVE HER A RECORDED STATEMENT. And with North Carolina being just one of four states with the regressive contributory negligence trap for injured victims, you run a HUGE RISK of saying one little thing that will allow a clever adjuster to pin some degree of contributory negligence on you.
#5. OK, Victoria, do you feel all beaten up by my haranguing you on this NO TALKING topic? I would not blame you for feeling you have been run over by a truck! But it was necessary IMO since the adjuster paints such a rosy picture if only you would “cooperate with me just a little bit.” Ha! After what I have done to you, I would not be surprised to hear that you and your husband do not want to hear from me again. But if you are still hanging with me, then I will have some specific recommendations in my message tomorrow. After you AND your husband have read what I am working on for you, I want you two to plan to go and get photos of the stairway and the handhold railing, especially its height. If there is no handhold railing, my two-bits says that is violation of your local building code. I will discuss ways in which you could obtain the contact info on the gentleman who spoke to you about his own problem with the stairs.
That is all for now, Victoria. I hope I am still welcome to come to you and your husband with my next specific information on what should come next in your claim.
Dr. Settlement, J.D. (Juris Doctor)