I fell at the Grocery Store

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by positiveone, Aug 12, 2010.

  1. positiveone

    positiveone New Member

    I went to Fred Meyer on Saturday July 24, 2010. I picked up my prescription and then walked over to the Garden Department to see if they had any vegetables.

    I was walking along the left side of the store in the garden department, (the flooring was cement), looking at plants. I wanted to walk further because I saw no vegetables on that side. There was a forklift parked that I had to maneuver around. It appeared that the forks were down. I lifted my foot a bit and tried to step around it but the forks were up about 1 1/2 to 2 inches but that could not be seen from above. My shoe caught on the fork and I went flying and landed on the cement.

    It has been three weeks and my neck and back are a mess. Fred Meyer has a company that speaks for them. I could not get them to return my call. I finally got a hold of them and they said I am mostly at fault because I knew a forklift was there.

    I spoke to an attorney and they said these kinds of claims are hard to win. I would most likely lose which was surprising since it is illegal to leave the forks up on a lift.

    I would like my medical bills paid. They said they would give me 400 dollars which does not cover what I have had done so far, x rays, medicine, Drs appts. Dr wants me to have physical therapy but I do not have the money and this will not pay for it.

    What should I do? Thanks in advance to all that answer.

    I have fibro and have a plate in my neck that was not damaged but I am still in much pain from this.
  2. Tizz

    Tizz New Member

    ...Like with doctors, it's often good to get a "second opinion".

    If you accept the lousy $400 they are offering, you will never get anything more.

    I'm not suggesting you sue for millions of dollars. I'm not that kind of person... just saying, if they won't pay for your treatment when you fell on their property, you owe it to yourself to at least make sure another lawyer won't see things differently. (Seriously, it could just be that first guy isn't very good, or very confident, or whatever.)

    I have fibro too, and I fall a lot.


  3. quanked

    quanked Member

    Yes! Call a couple of more attorneys.

    You must be a northwesterner. I would not encourage you to let Freddy's off the hook. It is up to the store to keep all areas safe. If I come over to your house and break my leg I (theoretically) can sue you. We pay big bucks for our home insurance for just such possible events. So does Freddy's.

    These kinds of companies can and will tell you anything--I mean anything. What they say will not mean crap when you end up in court unless they have been abusive. If you expect these corporations to play fair then prepare for disappointment. These managers are trained in ways to block your every move so that you never make it to a lawyer's office. And attorneys are another story. Nevertheless, unless you are able to do your own filings of motions with the court you will need an attorney.

    In 1980 I fell in the parking lot of an Albertson's as I moved toward one of their front doors. They had just installed speed bumps, it was dusk and I was not prepared for the ground to meet my foot sooner than it had the last time I had been to this store. My stiffened arm was shoved into my shoulder socket. It hurt like hell. I did as you are doing--I called the store and spoke to the manager. I wanted my medical bills paid. I was a lot younger and dumber then. It was also a very bad time in my life. The short story is that I never followed through with an attorney. I sustained an injury that day that limited my range of movement where the shoulder socket hooks up with my arm. It is still with me 30 years later.

    I regret that I did not get myself an attorney to this very day.

    Unless you live in a remote area, and even then you should be able to find someone in a nearby city, you should be able to find an attorney who will take your case on a contingency basis. As this would not be a huge legal suit you might have to call more than one attorney to find someone who will take your case and with whom you will feel comfortable with. You might even want to consider writing up your narrative of the incident (have someone read your story and help you make it as tight and brief as you can while leaving nothing critical out) and submit them online to an attorney or 2--or mail them. At the very least you can use what you have written on the phone. It will save you time in the long run as you will not have to rethink your story over and over. It will also help you keep your facts straight over time.

    A lot depends on how hungry the attorney is. You might want to do some research online for personal injury attorneys in your area. You can call your state's bar association for referrals.

    As I loose my ability to move around easily I am noticing more and more all the obstacles in the environment that make movement for the not so able bodied unsafe. So far, we all have a right to expect the physical environment to be safe to navigate in any store you shop.

    Good luck.

  4. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    The suggestion that you talk to another atty or two is a good one. The atty
    should take the case on a contingency basis, meaning the atty recovers a fee
    from the money he/she gets for you. You do not pay the atty from your own funds.

    You need to have a contract with the atty. It should spell out the amount of
    the atty's recovery. Typical the atty gets a larger percentage if the case is
    tried rather than settled. That's because the atty spent more time and effort.

    If you ever had a previous claim, tell the attorney. (The insurance company already
    knows as all insurance claims are reported to a central data bank.)

    You need to get a note book. Write down a description of what happened. Write
    down every detail you can think of. Go back and add any you think of later.

    Date of accident; time of day; weather; what were you wearing; what kind of shoes;
    anybody in the store you knew? Were you wearing glasses? Anybody help you up? What had you been doing before you went shopping? What did you do after the accident. Do more
    shopping? Go home? Go to the dr.?

    Set the shoes aside in a bag in your closet. You do not want them any more worn.
    They may be evidence at a trial someday.

    Take any pills or liquor before the accident? What happened after the accident?
    Were you taken to the manager's office? Who was there? Who said what?

    Keep a record of every medical appointment and medicine and symptom regarding
    the accident. Keep a record of every phone call or meeting w/ the store personnel or
    an insurance adjuster or atty.

    It is possible you will deposed regarding all this months or years from now. You need
    to have notes to refresh your memory.

    Insurance companies/corporations typical settle claims. They do not want the
    expense of litigation or the risk of a sympathetic jury awarding an outrageous verdict.

    Be careful what your say or write to friends; neighbors; on this board. You do not
    want to be brave and cheerful and tell your neighbor, "I fell at the store, but it was nothing." That would sound pretty damaging if the case actually came to trial.

    Your atty should tell you all this and more. Once you have an attorney, you should
    never meet or talk (not even on the phone) w/ representatives for the store unless
    your atty is present.

    If you happen to have an especially good day a couple months from now, do not
    go mountain climbing or skipping down the street. You never know when an
    investigator w/ a camera is lurking.

    Good luck.

  5. TigerLilea

    TigerLilea Active Member

    I'll play devil's advocate here. If you already have a plate in your neck, common sense would say that you would be extra careful about what you do. I guess the obvious question is, why didn't you walk around the fork lift, instead of over it?? Or, when you saw the fork lift blocking the isle, walk down another isle to get to where you were going? I'm sure these are questions that would come up if you were to pursue this further.

  6. positiveone

    positiveone New Member

    for all your input.

    Those questions were asked. I thought I had walked around it but my sandal caught on a fork I did not realize was up. I could not see that it was. I stepped around it but not far enough.

    It is illegal to leave a forklift with the forks up but the lawyer I spoke to said you assume risk when you step onto the property of a store.

    I filed a claim with the store and have a claim number. It really ticks me off that they do not want to pay for the physical therapy my Dr. would like me to have to help my back. I am in a lot of pain because of the fall.

    I will talk to someone else about this to get a second opinion. Thank you all.