Posts Tagged ‘laws of florida’

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Grocery Cart Accident – Expert Advice from a Florida Personal Injury Accidents Lawyer

December 15, 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 have been reading some of the other posts for slip and falls. I don’t see any information or letters that pertain to grocery carts (not that there aren’t any.) I was at a grocery store with my 17 month old daughter sitting in the front compartment of a grocery cart (she was buckled in) and my son sitting in basket. I felt the cart was wobbling however I knew I only wanted to pick up a few items so it would not take long. Well as my son was getting out, I held onto the cart, however, because the wheels were not secure, the cart tipped over with my daughter in the cart. She fell on her side and injured her hand, however no broken bones according to her Pediatrician. I filled out an accident report with the store manager and he did see the blood on her hand after the fall. A rep for the store called and left me a message today. My question is, am I entitled to any compensation for my daughters pain and suffering? After reading some of the other letters I don’t think the injuries are severe enough to seek an attorney or should I? Do you think it would be necessary to write a letter demanding or requesting a settlement? Thank you for your time! Your site has been very helpful.

Answer:
Your email does not indicate what state you live in.  I am a Florida personal injury accidents attorney specializing in auto accidents, slip and falls, and workers compensation claims.  Laws vary from state to state so the best advice I can give you is to consult with an accident lawyer in your area.

Regarding your daughter’s accident, the same standard for negligence should apply.  In Florida, a store owner 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.  This would extend to a store’s grocery carts and making sure they are in good working order.  A cart that tips over on its own while your daughter is sitting in it is obviously not working properly.

Most stores do routine maintenance on their carts so that they operate properly for shoppers.  However, just judging by my own experience at grocery and "big box" stores, it is the exception that you get a grocery cart that works properly, rather than the norm. You almost always get a cart with a wobbly wheel.  In order to determine whether you have a claim to pursue against this store, you would have to be able to show that this particular store was not properly maintaining its carts.  In my opinion, based on what happened with the cart, if your daughter’s injury is serious enough, you should pursue the claim.

At least in the case of Florida personal injury accidents and in most other states, when making a negligence claim for injuries, you can recover damages for pain and suffering, both in the past and if she is going to have pain and suffering in the future due to the injury.  Additionally, you can recover damages for past and future medical bills.

You may want to ask the grocery store if they have an insurance policy which has medical payments coverage, also known as "medpay".  Medpay is insurance coverage that will reimburse you for any out of pocket medical expenses you incur for medical treatment for your daughter.  The store would also have liability coverage which is insurance which covers claims such as your daughters.

You do have the opportunity to try and settle your daughters claim without an accident lawyer.  It just depends on how serious the injury is.  For very minor injuries, I would probably suggest putting in writing a summary of how the accident occurred, the reason the store is responsible, and details of your daughter’s injury and medical care.  You should include a demand for settlement – a dollar figure – which you would be comfortable settling the claim for.  Keep in mind, whatever dollar figure you put down, the store or its insurance company will try to negotiate down from that amount, i.e. aim high.

If the injury is more serious, I would not hesitate to speak with an experienced accident injury attorney.  An attorney specializing in negligence claims will know how to proceed on the claim to maximize your daughters’ recovery, and to resolve the claim as quickly as possible.  One of the first things you or your accident lawyer would want to do is to advise the store to preserve the cart, without alteration, so it can be inspected to determine why it tipped over.

FOLLOW UP RESPONSE:

Hi Joseph, yes I am in Apopka, FL…sorry about that. Thank you so much for responding so quickly.

My intentions were to write a letter demanding compensation for pain and suffering not for the medical. My insurance covers my daughter’s medical 100%.

When I return the call to the rep for the grocery store should I tell her I will be writing a letter requesting compensation? Can you help me with writing the letter and where the letter should be sent? Should I copy anyone in upper mgmt such as the CEO, CFO, COO, etc? I am willing to pay (if it’s not too expensive).

By the way, with regards to the cart: the manager told the cart attendent to remove the cart after the incident happened.

Thank you again for all your help!!!

Answer:
You should probably explain to the grocery store representative that you are considering hiring an attorney as your daughter is having significant problems with her injuries.  You can inquire about the possibility of a settlement prior to you hiring an attorney.  The store will most likely request a settlement demand, preferably in writing, and summarizing your daughter’s injuries, to include an amount you are comfortable settling the claim for.  Keep in mind the grocery store will attempt to negotiate down from whatever you demand, so leave yourself room to negotiate.

If you’re not satisfied with the grocery store’s response, I would probably speak with a Florida personal injury accidents lawyer.  Most Florida injury attorneys handle these claims on a contingent basis, which means you would not have to pay them anything out of your pocket, but they would be entitled to a percentage of whatever is recovered, usually 1/3 if the claim is settled before filing a lawsuit.

With regard to the cart, you obviously want the cart removed from being used, but you don’t want it destroyed or repaired.  If you need to file a lawsuit down the road, you will need that cart to prove liability against the grocery store.

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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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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Florida Statute of Limitiations for Premises Liability

July 10, 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: My son  fell in a well hole.

Question: My son fell in a well hole when he was 22 months old. He is 6 years old now. He was trapped there for thirteen hours before he was rescued. It happened on someone else’s land. Do I have a case after all of this time?

Answer: It depends on where you live.  I am an attorney in Florida, so I can only tell you about Florida laws.  The Florida statute of limitations on negligence claims has a 4 year limit.  If you are going to bring a negligence claim in Florida, you have to bring it within 4 years from the date the accident/injury occurred.  Other statutes of limitations may apply depending on the type claim your son has.

My advice to you is to speak to an attorney in your area that specializes in negligence claims, and do it as soon as possible.  Most personal injury lawyers will give you a free initial consultation, so you have nothing to lose in speaking to an attorney.  But again, do it as soon as possible because you have already waited a long time.

For more information about the Florida statute of limitations and how it affects your claim, contact Florida premises liability lawyer, Joseph M. Maus at 1-866-556-5529, visit his website at http://www.jmmlawyers.com, or email him today.

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