Archive for November, 2009

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Costco Escalator Accident – Expert Advice from a Florida Premises Liability Lawyer

November 28, 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:

Question: I was shopping in Costco and while I was going up the escalator, my cart that was full (over 100 pounds) started to roll on me. I fell and hurt my hip and lower back. I was breast feeding my daughter of 2 month and the milk immediately was gone that same day, so in other words lost my milk (the most healthiest thing for a baby). The cart that I had was broken therefore the magnet that was supposed to hold it didn’t and it slid right on me and really hurt me! I ended up going to the hospital and am still to go for other exams. Is this a legitimate case ???

Answer: The answer to your question depends on the law of the state in which you live.  Your email does not indicate what state you are from.  I am a Florida accident lawyer specializing in car accident, Florida personal injury accidents such as slip and fall claims, and workers compensation claims.  Laws vary from state to state, so you should always check with an experienced accident attorney in your area to get more information. You may have a claim against Costco, or possibly the manufacturer or distributor of the grocery cart system, depending on who is responsible for maintaining the system.  Your email doesn’t give full details of how the accident occurred, however, if the cart escalator is supposed to hold the cart in place, and it didn’t, resulting in your injuries, you probably have a claim.

The best advice I can give you is to speak with an experienced injury accident lawyer in your area that specializes in premises liability claims. He or she can advise you what the law is in you area regarding an accident such as yours since they may be different than those for Florida personal injury accidents.

 In Florida personal injury accidents, a store owner such as Costco 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. Your email says the cart you had was broken.  Your attorney is going to need more information regarding why you think it was broken.  Other than it starting to roll, what about the cart or magnet was broken?

You should contact an accident injury lawyer soon.  There are many steps your attorney should take now to preserve your claim and maximize its value. The lawyer should notify Costco to find out what types of insurance coverage are available, and more importantly, advise Costco to preserve the cart without alteration so that is can be inspected later to determine what happened during your accident. You should try to obtain photographs of the escalator system, the cart, magnet, and any visible injuries that you may have.

Keep in mind that Costco is a very large company that most likely uses this cart system at many of their stores.  An experienced injury accident lawyer can seek documents from Costco to find out whether other accidents similar to yours have occurred at other stores.

Most accident attorneys specializing in claims such as yours handle the claims on a contingent basis,i.e. their attorneys fee is a percentage of any money they recover for you, and offer a free, no obligation consultation to discuss whether you have a viable case.  So, you have nothing to lose by meeting with an accident lawyer to discuss the claim.  If you went to the hospital and you’re still having problems, I would not hesitate to speak with an accident attorney to at least see whether you have a claim to pursue.  You should do it soon so any attorney you hire has a chance to put Costco on notice of preserving the cart.

If I can help any further with your personal injury question, please do not hesitate to contact me. Good Luck.

For more information about Florida personal injury accidents, contact Florida premises liability lawyer, Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529, visit his website at http://www.mauslawfirm.com, or email him today.

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Another Slip And Fall Case In Walmart – Expert Advice

November 27, 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:

Question: I walked into Walmart with my wife. I was pushing an empty cart and I slipped on some crushed strawberries in front of the check out lines on the tile. Apparently no employees saw me fall, but one saw me on the ground and came over to help. It seems I fell very fluid like, feet first, sliding forward and falling on my back, trying to grab the empty cart for support but it just fell on top of me instead. It looked like the strawberry had already been stepped on. I accidentally said to the employee who came over to help me, "I”m fine, I’m not going to press charges or anything." I wonder if that will impede anything? I felt fine right after the fall, but later started to get soreness in my right shoulder muscle and my left arm was a little sore, too (the one I fell on). I first decided I would fill out an accident report with them, but decided to do it afterward. I got a copy of the report, but the assistant manager didn’t seem at all worried. I asked him what happens next and he said they would give me a call later to see how I was doing. Is it worth doing something about, given Walmart’s dispute reputation? I think it might only be soft tissue problems, but I fell on my back at a restaurant I worked for and thought it was nothing. It turns out I have had minor back problems since then, so I don’t want to just forget about something like this again if this is going to influence my enjoyment of life. Is it worth it to ask for an insurance settlement?

Answer: Your email does not indicate what state you are from.  I am a Florida accident lawyer specializing in car accidents, Florida personal injury accidents such as slips and falls, and workers compensation claims.  Laws vary from state to state, so you should always check with an experienced accident attorney in your area to get more information about your personal injury question.

Your injury situation is one that occurs to many people.  You get injured, but think the injury will go away over time.  Unfortunately, by the time most people realize that their injury is not going to go away, it is sometimes too late to bring a claim.  If you were injured in this accident, even if it just aggravated a prior injury, you should speak to an experienced accident injury lawyer to pursue a claim.

Walmart’s reaction to your claim is not unusual.  Keep in mind that Walmart has hundreds of very large stores in which thousands of shoppers go in and out of every day.  Walmart’s employees deal with accidents like your every day.  Walmart has a very detailed and specific employee handbook on how to deal with claims like yours.  It is a pretty routine procedure for their employees.

However, just because you fell in a Walmart store, does not make Walmart responsible for your injuries.  In Florida personal injury accidents, a store owner such as Walmart 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 Walmart to be responsible for a slip and fall due to food on the floor, the food must have existed on the floor for enough time that Walmart’s employees knew, or should have known, the food was there, i.e. and had a chance to clean it up or at least put out a warning sign letting the customers know of its existence.  The fact that it appeared to you that another person had already stepped on the strawberry is one indication that it might have been there for a while.  Another way to show Walmart should have known of the location and danger of the strawberry on the floor, is that it was sitting within view of the checkout clerks.  You or your attorney will have to explore the facts of your case to see whether Walmart failed to maintain the store as it is required.

I don’t know when your accident happened, but it is best to explore making a claim soon after the accident occurred.  If it occurred near the checkout counter, there may be store videotape that you would want to preserve. Walmart tapes over their store videotape on a regular basis so you need to request the videotape be preserved.  You should also be looking for statements from any witnesses that may have seen you fall.  Their names may be listed on the incident report.

In Florida personal injury accidents, 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 injury accidents in your area to see whether you should pursue a claim.  Florida has a specific jury instruction for aggravations of pre-existing injuries, so the fact that you had a previous injury should not deter you from pursuing a claim from this accident.  Also, an experienced slip and fall 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. Also, most attorneys offer a free initial consultation, so you have nothing to lose in getting an expert opinion from a lawyer in your area.

Most attorneys that do this accident injury cases have handled cases against Wal Mart before.  Experienced accident injury lawyers know that Wal Mart claims are handled out of Bentonville, AR by inhouse adjusters.  As I mentioned above, they have a very lengthy employee handbook for how their employees are to handle incidents such as yours.  If you want to contact Wal Mart yourself, you need to call them in AR and find the claim #, and the name of the adjustor assigned to handling the case.  BUT – if you’re considering getting an attorney, I would do it before you speak to Wal Mart.

If you are in Florida, please give me a call at 1-866-556-5529. I have been specializing in Florida personal injury accidents claims including slip and fall cases for 16 years.  If you’re in an area other than Florida, I can probably still refer you to an experienced slip and fall attorney in your area. Good Luck.

For more information about Florida personal injury accidents, contact Florida premises liability lawyer, Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529, visit his website at http://www.mauslawfirm.com, or email him today.

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Slip And Fall Injury on Ice – Florida Expert Advice

November 20, 2009

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

Question:
I slipped and fell in Greese, NY in 2004. I got out of the van in the street and slipped on a large ice bump from a snow plow. I couldn’t walk for 4 months and was in very bad pain. I went to a dr and he sent me for an mri. I had 2 bulging disks and a chunk out of the 3rd. I was also sent to a nerve dr here in Florida and he said I had bad sciatic nerve damage. I then went to Rochester, NY and the dr there said I WOULD BE able to walk again, but it would never be the same. I would always have to keep it from getting inflamed. It took 3 yrs to walk again with a limp. Now I can walk a little better, but I still have pain and will for the rest of my life. I can only work the most 2 hours without pain. When this happened, I notified Greese and they said I only had 3 weeks to notify them …I live in fl…can I still sue ???

Answer:
The answer to your questions depends on the statute of limitations (SOL) in New York for slip and fall claims, and how New York Courts treat slips and falls on ice.  I specialize in slip and fall cases but I am in Florida. Laws vary from state to state so what happens in a Florida slip and fall injury may not be the case in New York.

The best advice I would give you is do speak with an attorney that specializes in premises liability claims, i.e. slip and falls.  He can advise you what the law is in New York for slip and fall accidents which occur on ice.  In a Florida slip and fall injury, you have four years to bring a claim such as the one you have described.  An experienced accident lawyer in your area could easily tell you what the SOL is, and whether you can still make a claim.

Generally, a landowner owes two duties to persons lawfully on the property – maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition, and to warn persons on the property of dangerous conditions that the person may not be able to appreciate themselves.  I don’t know enough about icy conditions, and problems created by the use of a snow plow, to tell you whether the entity that was using the snow plow should have done something differently that would have eliminated the bump.  But, that would be the issue in making a claim against the City of Greese, or any private company that may handle the snow plows for the City.

In the case of a Florida slip and fall injury, there are also strict requirements for reporting a claim to a governmental agency.  You have more than 3 weeks, but these requirements only apply to property owned by the State, County and Municipal governments. The law in Florida limits the time period you have to notify the governmental agency, and also limits the amount of money you can recover. You should speak to an experienced accident attorney to see what limitations, if any, apply to your claim.

Most attorneys specializing in premises liability claims handle the claims on a contingent basis,i.e. their attorneys fee is a percentage of any money they recover for you, and offer a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss whether you have a viable case.

For more information about a Florida slip and fall injury, contact Florida premises liability lawyer, Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529, visit his website at http://www.mauslawfirm.com, or email him today.

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Answers to Common Questions About Filing a Florida Accident Claim

November 11, 2009

When you’ve been involved in a car accident, many questions come up for consideration. Should you file a claim? What if you can’t afford a lawyer? Having an accident can be traumatic enough without having to search for answers about the legal issues involved. The following list of questions and answers can help you decide on the next step.

  1. I can file a claim without a lawyer, right? Technically, yes, you can file a Florida accident claim without going to a lawyer, but talking to an attorney first is usually the best thing to do. Experienced lawyers can help you navigate through the often-complicated laws involving auto accidents and injuries. Attorneys can also help your case by consulting with expert witnesses and researching other important information about your case. Remember that you will be negotiating your claim with an insurance company that employs thousands of attorneys to defend  it against claims like yours, and will spend thousands of dollars investigating your claim.  Insurance companies can access public records to learn information about any accident you have ever been involved in, or when you have sought medical treatment from an accident.  You should speak to a Florida accident lawyer that will fight to maximize your recovery
  2. But, I can’t afford to hire a lawyer! Generally, most lawyers will offer your initial consultation free of charge to you. This consultation helps you and your lawyer discuss your accident claim and whether or not you may even have a case. If you do have a case, you stand to get more compensation if you are represented by an attorney. If you hire an attorney who only charges if they win your case, you haven’t lost anything by pursuing it through legal counsel.
  3. I need money now, what if I don’t have time to wait for a case to be settled? If you have bills to pay and you are out of work due to the accident or if you have medical bills due to your injuries, it can be tempting to take a settlement offer and move on with your life. But, working with your attorney to get the best possible compensation is worth the wait. Depending on the circumstances involved with the Florida accident claim, some cases can be settled in a few weeks, while some cases need to go to court. Your attorney can help you choose the best option so you can get the most compensation.
  4. What if I just talk to the other party and settle out of court? Don’t try it on your own! Insurance companies have become very sophisticated businesses that work to minimize your claim by any means possible.  This includes investigating any prior claims you have made, and evaluating your prior medical records and diagnostic scans such as MRI’s.  It could also include having private investigators take witness statements, and possibly even conducting surveillance video on you.  An experienced Florida accident attorney can also obtain witness statements, take photographs of the property damage and accident scene, and prepare your claim so you can maximize your recovery for new injuries, and even aggravations of pre-existing injuries. Experienced accident attorneys can also find out how other similar claims were resolved in the past. They are skilled in the art of negotiation. They are your best option for getting the amount of compensation you deserve.
  5. I think I may have been at fault, what do I do? These days, auto accidents are complicated by many different factors. You might think you were at fault, but maybe the other driver was on their cell phone or texting while driving. Maybe they were driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol. You don’t really know that it was your fault and a good Florida accident claim attorney can help you sort things out so you aren’t left vulnerable if the case goes to court and to a jury.

In the event you are involved in a car accident, take advantage of the free initial consultations that many Florida accident claim lawyers offer. Ask the attorney questions to see how many cases like yours they have handled which will give you a good idea of their exerience. Ask about the results of their cases to see if they have been handled successfully. Ask about the attorney’s payment structure so you know what pursuing the case will cost you. Ask if the lawyer has a Martin-Hubble "AV" rating which rates the attorney’s level of professional excellence. And, keep in mind, you should never feel pressured to hire the attorney during the initial interview.

For more information about filing a Florida accident claim, contact the Florida auto accident lawyers at Joseph M. Maus, P.A.at 1-866-556-5529, visit them online at http://www.mauslawfirm.com, or email them today.

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Florida Personal Injury Accidents – Child Injury – Expert Advice

November 6, 2009

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

Subject: Son injured himself in school

Question: My son got injured last week at school. We live in Satellite Beach Fl, and my son goes to school at a magnet school in Cocoa which is at least 30mins away from us. He was in his science class when a girl who had her foot on his stool pulled her foot out and took the stool with her as my son was going to sit on the stool. He fell and hit his head on a table behind him and broke his scalp open. Thankfully, he did not have any major trauma to his skull. The school and the school board have been so unhelpful and quick to absolve themselves from any liability. First while my son was waiting for me to pick him up a roach appeared in the clinic and the nurse ran out of the clinic leaving my son behind alone. Then the principal called my husband and told him that they had "investigated" what happened and said that it was an accident and that no one had pulled the chair out from underneath my son. Now I had to pay out of pocket for my son to be taken care of (I do not have insurance) and when I called for an incident report last Friday, they said they needed to find it and they would call me back. When they did call, I was not available to speak with them so I called them later in the day and they told me that they could not release the accident report because my son did not fill it out. He was not aware that he needed to fill out a report. They also never made us aware of it needing to be done. Now the person that has the authority to release it is not going to be in the office until next week and I am livid that I cannot get that report. What are my options? Thank you.

Answer: Don’t expect to find anything worthwhile in the report.  If the School turns it over to you, it will most likely contain very generic information and will definitely not assign any fault to the school.  At best, it may contain the names of witnesses to the incident that you could speak to in order to find out exactly what happened.  Your options are to investigate the incident more fully to find out what exactly happened, and determine whether the school is responsible for the incident.

Keep in mind, in cases of Florida personal injury accidents, a school is responsible for dangerous conditions which they know about, or should know about, and their failure to protect the children at the school from the dangers.  This could be actual dangerous conditions at the school such as a door that slams too quickly, or an uneven, cracked sidewalk, or it could be a student that continually pulls "pranks" on other students, or a student that bullies other students.  A stool that is pulled out by another student, without any further information or facts, is probably not a dangerous condition that the school would be responsible for.   However, if it is a stool that other people have been injured on, or maybe this other student has a history of doing this to classmates, then maybe there is liability against the school for failing to fix the stool, or failing to discipline or remove the student from the classroom.

Most schools have insurance for the type of incident you have described. Their insurance usually includes "medical payments coverage", or Medpay. Medpay is a type of insurance coverage that pays for medical bills which arise out of an injury that occurs at the school.  Since you have incurred out of pocket medical bills, you should speak to the school to find out whether they have medpay coverage.  If so, you need to submit the bills to the school’s insurance company and you will be reimbursed.

If your son does have a claim, you would not sue right away.   Most Florida personal injury accidents claims get resolved without having to file a lawsuit.  Once your son finishes his medical treatment, your accident lawyer would get the medical records together, photos of the injury, and copies of his medical bills, then submit them to the school, or its insurance company in an effort to settle the claim.  If the school doesn’t settle the claim, then you would have the option of filing a lawsuit.

It sounds like your son’s injury may have healed without any permanent effects.  If it has not, you should consider speaking with a Florida personal injury accidents lawyer as soon as possible. There are many steps your attorney should take now, i.e. notify the insurance company for the school, and find out what types of coverage are available.  There are also statutes of limitations which may apply and preclude you from bringing a claim if you wait too long, particularly if it is a public school.  There are special rules for Florida accident and injury claims which apply to governmental entities such as public schools, including when you have to notify them.  If it is a public school in Florida, there are also other governmental agencies you are required to put on notice of your son’s claim, so it is best to speak with a Florida personal injury accidents lawyer as soon as possible.

Most attorneys specializing in premises liability claims handle the claims on a contingent basis,i.e. the attorneys fee is a percentage of any money they recover for you, and offer a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss whether you have a viable case.  So it won’t cost you anything to at least speak to an attorney in your area.

For more information about Florida personal injury accidents, contact Florida premises liability lawyer, Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529, visit his website at http://www.mauslawfirm.com, or email him today.

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