McDonald’s Slip And Fall Case Question

March 31, 2009

The following is an expert answer given by Florida Premises Liability Lawyer, Joseph M. Maus, and taken from AllExperts.com, a free Q & A service on the internet:

Subject: Slip and fall case at McDonald’s

Question: Sorry for the many details of my story. At the end of last year (2008) I had just stepped into a McDonald’s and slipped and fell from a wet area on the floor. I landed hard on my left side of my body which included my arm, shoulder, hand, hip bone, leg, knee. I did get an accident report filled out but not on the same day it happened. I was not sure what to do. I was going to school full-time at the time. I did go to the hospital right after the incident because I already had problems with my left side of my body – mostly my arm and leg which are now still causing me constant and non-stop pain. I can’t use my arm the way I once was able to. It always stiffens up on me. I can barely raise my arm above my head without agitating my shoulder and feeling intense pain. Since this happened to me I had to give up my dream of working in the medical field. I was going to school for medical assistant and was just about to go on my internship when I knew my arm was too messed to be able to do the work  needed to be done in this field. I gave up on myself and continued my part-time job which I thought would not be that difficult. But eventually I had to leave there too because I was always in too much pain. Will I still be able to bring a lawsuit against Mc Donald’s because of my constant pain and suffering and depression? I am only 22 years old and should not have to go through this. Thank you for reading this!

Answer: Please keep in mind, your email doesn’t say where you are from. Laws vary fro state to state. I am in Florida, so I will try to give you a general perspective, but check with somebody in your area to get specific information about the laws in your state. Generally, the owner of a fast food restaurant owes two duties to its customers – maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition, and to warn its customers of dangerous conditions that the customers cannot appreciate themselves.  In order for a property owner such as McDonald’s to be responsible for a slip and fall case due to water on the floor, the water must have existed on the floor for enough time that McDonald’s employees knew, or should have known, the water was there and had a chance to clean it up or at least put out a warning sign letting the customers know of the water.  You or your attorney will have to explore the facts of your case to see whether you can meet this standard.  Assuming the water was there for a long enough time for someone at the McDonald’s to do something about it, you have a claim against the McDonald’s.  Any claim you would make should include a claim for past and future medical bills, and for past and future pain and suffering.  At least in a Florida slip and fall case, you can also make a claim for lost wages, and loss of future earning capacity, i.e. your career as a medical assistant was going to pay you $35,000 per year but because of your injury you can only obtain employment earning $25,000 year. I can speak from my own experience at McDonald’s and watching how they clean their floor.  I was at a McDonald’s once and spilled a cup of water.  I told the manager that it was on the floor, yet nothing was done.  I went and told the manager again and he sent a high school age employee out with a mop. The employee basically made the problem worse by spreading the water out across the floor, and not putting a "wet floor" sign out.  As your claim only occurred at the end of 2008, you most likely have plenty of time to bring a lawsuit.  In a Florida slip and fall case, you have four years from the date of the accident to bring a claim.  However, you don’t want to wait that long as witnesses disappear and their memories fade, employee witnesses move on to different jobs, and evidence can be lost.  You should speak with an attorney specializing in slip and fall cases in your area to get the claim going. One of the first things you want to do is verify the type and amount of insurance coverage.  Most likely, many McDonald’s will carry "medical payments" coverage which will pay you money to cover your out of pocket medical expenses.  Also, an experienced slip and fall case lawyer is going to know the laws in your area and how best to proceed.  Most slip and fall lawyers handle cases on a contingent basis which means if the lawyer does not recover any money for your claim, there is no charge for costs or attorney’s fees.  If you are in the South Florida area, please give me a call. I have been specializing in personal injury claims including slip and fall cases for 16 years.  If you’re in an area other than South Florida, I can probably still refer you to an experienced slip and fall case attorney in your area.  Good Luck.  

For more information about a Florida slip and fall case, contact Florida premises liability lawyer Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529 or email him today.


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