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URGENT-Neglegence,Injury/1yr. time is almost up!

Discussion in 'Accidents, Injuries, Negligence' started by Sheryl, Nov 23, 2002.

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  1. Sheryl

    Sheryl Law Topic Starter New Member

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    URGENT! Nov.23,202

    Hello,
    I need help.
    [There are X-rays before the accident that show nothing wrong,
    and there are X-rays after the accident that say Arthritis -- This was in approximately a 2 month period of time!]

    I have been in pain since this accident and have gotten no help, I think it's because I'm on Medi-cal and they think I'm just an invisible part of the population or something.

    I've been so depressed about this that I don't know what else to do. I keep telling myself to just give up because I can't take the stress and feeling that no one wants to help me; besides the rejection I've gotten causes so much anxiety.

    This accident happened almost a year ago, last December 3rd, 2001. at approx. 5:00 pm. I'm tired of pain and need help.

    I fell over two, hand-held plastic shopping baskets and a metal clothes hanger that were on the floor in an empty register isle at a store I was exiting . I had made a purchase in another department and was exiting out an empty resister isle.

    I saw a sales paper on that counter so I stopped to look at it as I approached the empty register-isle.
    I realized that I'd already saw that paper so I put it down, turned and the next thing I know I had fallen and had no time to brace myself.

    It was a very hard fall onto my knees and then onto my back. I went to the Dr.s the next morning because I had started to get a terrible headache and my neck began to hurt about 40 minutes after the fall. That scared me. Also about a week later, in the shower, I lifted one leg at a time to wash them and I felt a tingling/numbness from my knees down to my feet!

    I now walk with a limp and still can't walk or sleep without pain.

    I never got to explain the whole story..it seems that as soon as the two different Attorneys I tried to get help from heard that I was on Medi-cal, they wanted nothing to do with me.

    I know the store has cameras running, espeically at the dang register isles, so they have to have a film of the accident which will prove how long the baskets were there and show how my fall happened exactly.

    Is it Illegal to charge someone who's on Medi-cal?
    Can I get some sort of extension to the 1 yr. filing time because
    of the rejection and depression and anxiety from it all, I have just about given up, I don't know what to do anymore?

    I want to feel better, walk like I used to be able to do, get Legal help and get "good medical treatment".

    Thank you for your professional suggestion/help, I'm still trying
    to get help even though it looks impossible.

    Respectfully,
    Sheryl
     
  2. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    Did the attorneys give you a reason why they could not accept the case? If you have pre-existing medical conditions, it could make any negligence case you have an extremely risky venture since your injuries may be likely the result of your prior injuries and not something new. I'm just guessing here.
     
  3. Sheryl

    Sheryl Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Re:Urgent-- Neglegince Injury

    Dear thelawprofessor,
    Thank you for replying.

    Yes, the first attorneys office I spoke to said they'd get back with me; (it was a secretary that I talked to, I never did talk to an attorney, just her) she called back saying that because of
    a previous injury and because the store didn't know the baskets were there, that they wouldn't handle it for me.

    I had told her up front that I had went to the Doctors for a groin pain. I was telling her the truth. Then a couple of weeks later I fell in my kitchen while putting dishes in the dishwasher; I slipped on a drop of water!

    BUT!!!!!

    As I was putting a cup on the top rack, I simultaneously
    slipped and my wrist got caught on one of the prongs on the
    top dishwasher shelf, it slowed my fall tremedously, (needless to say) I didn't even hit the floor. My foot just went out in front of me and the only pain I felt was in my wrist and my groin area.

    The fall at the store was directly onto the concrete floor, on my knees, hands and then I rolled over; nothing to brace myself or soften the fall. I didn't even know what hit me until I saw the baskets and clothes hanger go flying out in front of me as I was hitting the floor.

    The second attorney said that maybe someone had just put those baskets there 20 seconds before I came along.
    I tried to explain the whole story to him (just as I did to the first attorneys office) but this guy hardly gave me a chance to talk, basically only to answer questions he was asking me.

    He asked about my insurance, I told him 'Medi-cal', he seemed to cool way down and ended the conversation saying he would call the stores risk department and get back with me. He didn't get back with me, I had to call him a week or so later. He did this same thing, a few times, and that was the end of that.

    So no, I think they are comparing apples to oranges and that's not how it happened. And if you try to compare, there is no comparison. They didn't relate to one another.

    What am I supposed to do? Like I've said, I've been rejected and humiliated thinking that "they" think I staged that fall.
    RIGHT! I really wanted to fall hard and get hurt. Give me a break.

    I'm at my wittts end and feel hopeless about it because the only ones who really know what happened are me and the cameras at the store and all the witnesses in the next isle who gasped when they saw me fall; of which no one stuck around in concern.

    The Dctors took the first Xrays of my hip because of the pain I was in. I told her that it was in my groin area not my hip, but for some reason she wanted to take an X-ray of my hip. I asked for an MRI because I know that muscles, etc. don't show up on X-rays. But was told that Medical wouldn't want to do that.
    Those X-rays showed absolutely nothing wrong.

    The second X-rays, 2 months later, said arthritis. I later asked for a report of the first X-rays from two Doctors there and they said there were no records of it in the computer.
    I was shocked and upset.
    I persisted asking about it on my next visit and that Doctor got upset saying, they're there, I'll go get them for you!
    So I have both print outs.

    All I know is, before that fall, I was able to walk without a limp and sleep without pain in my hip, back and knee/leg.

    (I wish I knew how to tell it in a Readers Digest version)

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours tomorrow.
    Sheryl
     
  4. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    I couldn't get all the details but it seems to me that there are a couple of problems with your case.

    1) You do have a pre-existing condition. This means that the amount of the "injury" you suffered is reduced by the amount of the injury prior. Once you have such a condition it becomes very difficult to get good awards because of the likelihood that many will believe that much of your injury is merely the prior condition.

    2) You falling on a few items near the register does not necessarily mean that there was negligence. It is possible that the items fell a moment before you were there and you slipped on them. Negligence means more than just your falling, but that the store should have done something that would be the equivalent of proper care but they refrained from doing so.

    Remember, in contingency cases, the attorneys are funding the suit and hope the risk pays off -- not just to make money but also to cover their expenses. If the chances aren't good regarding the recovery of your case, they won't take it on contingency. If you believe your case has merit, you can always make an arrangement for partial contingency where you pay for part of the cost of the lawsuit. Good luck to you and I hope you feel better.
     
  5. Sheryl

    Sheryl Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Re:Urgent-Injury,Neglience (times up?)

    Hello thelawprofessor,

    Thanks for your help, but the "year" I had to file was up on
    Dec. 3rd '02 and today is the 18th of Dec. '02.
    You said there were a couple of problems...

    <<I couldn't get all the details but it seems to me that there are a couple of problems with your case.>>

    [All the details are in my previous posts]

    <<1) You do have a pre-existing condition. This means that the amount of the "injury" you suffered is reduced by the amount of the injury prior. Once you have such a condition it becomes very difficult to get good awards because of the likelihood that many will believe that much of your injury is merely the prior condition.>>

    [There was no pre-existing condition that had anything related to the fall at that stupid store. re: a groin pain (inner thigh muscle)vs. tripping and falling totally unaware onto my knees over shopping baskets and a metal clothes hanger onto the cement floor, while trying to exit via an empty register isle.]

    <<2) You falling on a few items near the register does not necessarily mean that there was negligence. It is possible that the items fell a moment before you were there and you slipped on them. Negligence means more than just your falling, but that the store should have done something that would be the equivalent of proper care but they refrained from doing so.>>

    [It wasn't a few items that "fell" (Like I said, I'm sure the stores cameras can prove the whole nightmare); it was 2 stacked, hand-held shopping baskets and a metal clothes hanger....Hmm, seems to me that a cashier took the baskets from 'previous shoppers', then put them in that empty isle as well as probably took an] purchased item of clothing off of the metal clothes hanger and then put the clothes hanger in the stacked shopping baskets too. TO ME THAT IS NEGLIGENCE. THOSE THINGS SHOULD HAVE BEEN KEPT OFF OF THE FLOOR; ESPECIALLY NOT PUT IN THE "WALKWAY" OF AN EMPTY REGISTER ISLE WHERE THE PUBLIC WALKS TO EXIT THE STORE.]

    <<Remember, in contingency cases, the attorneys are funding the suit and hope the risk pays off -- not just to make money but also to cover their expenses. If the chances aren't good regarding the recovery of your case, they won't take it on contingency. If you believe your case has merit, you can always make an arrangement for partial contingency where you pay for part of the cost of the lawsuit. Good luck to you and I hope you feel better.>>

    [Yes, like I said, I'm on Medi-cal. That tells them all they need to know. That's why one of the first questions I was asked was, "what type of insurance do you have?" --- she's on Medi-cal so she must not have any money...so throw that case out. Besides, if she has no money, she's probably wanting to sue to get some!---

    Hey, I fell. I got hurt. It was their wrongly placed property that caused the fall, period.]

    [Now the year is up, I don't have that kind of money to persue it and they are still laughing. Just like the snickering store's Rep. who phoned me 10 days after the accident.

    Sorry for the attitude, I get upset thinking about it.

    I do thank you for your well wishes for my feeling better,
    I certaily do hope so.]

    Sheryl
     
  6. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    I don't disagree with you with regard to the fact that it is frustrating that justice costs money, probably too much. It is upsetting. Unfortunately it does seem like it could be a difficult case to make. The point the attorney was making was that unless someone saw what happened or could identify a problem that the store did not deal with properly after being warned, it becomes a case where negligence may be difficult to prove. If it makes you feel even only a small amount better, I think it has more to do with the difficulty of proving the case than it does your condition, especially with regard to injury.

    If you HAD broken bones your case would have been easier. Arthritis does not usually occur, IMHO, within a short period of time. That takes time to develop. That is indicative of a preexisting condition of some variety. Soft tissue injuries are the most difficult to prove and easiest to fake. I'm not doubting you that the pain you feel is real and that it may have occurred after the fall, and I'm sorry to hear about that. But the fact is that it is not an easy case to prove to show (1) that you have an injury that can easily be identified -- we still don't know much other than pain and arthritic condition (2) the arthritic condition could be caused by age and other factors and the amount caused by the fall may be minimal and only exacerbated the pain, and (3) other than timing, I don't see (may have missed reading) a true causal connection between the injury and the fall other than perhaps timing. You went to the doctor the following day and obviously there wasn't an immediate injury of such severity that would lead anyone to believe that this was so serious.

    Additionally, the negligence case is difficult to prove. Putting baskets near the register is not unusual and most easily avoid them. There may be an issue of comparative/contibutory negligence where your recovery might be limited by your own negligence in looking where you were going. These are all issues that need to be addressed.

    The bottom line is the bottom line -- how much money could potentially be won by this case? You can always go to court and do this yourself, although it would be more difficult. But to get someone to invest in your case who also needs money to survive is difficult unless you are willing to fund part of the case. A good way to determine how serious a plaintiff is (and evaluate a case) is to find out how much money the plaintiff would be willing to put up in a case which the plaintiff is SURE a recovery will be had. If so, then the plaintiff will see a return on the investment. Otherwise, perhaps the reason the plaintiff doesn't want to back his case is because it just might be the very risky proposition that it is. I'm sorry, I really hope you feel better, but those are some factors which may possibly explain (or not) what you are experiencing. Best of luck to you.
     

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