Imagine heading into the The Forum Shopping Center for birthday presents, holiday shopping, or to have lunch with a friend. Halfway across the center, you suddenly find yourself flat on the floor. Lying there unable to move, you suspect you have suffered a serious back injury. Your friend contacts emergency medical services and they take you to the hospital.
Once you have been admitted to the hospital, you learn you will need surgery. What you thought was a back injury turns out to be a broken pelvis. You are also informed your medical insurance provider has informed you there will be a substantial payment owed by you because you have not met your annual deductible. What should you do next? The next thing you should do is to contact a personal injury law firm in Central Oregon immediately.
Establishing Liability for Your Injuries
You have learned from your friend that you tripped on a lifted tile on the floor. There was no way to see it immediately unless you happened to be looking down. It was only when he leaned over to check on you that he noticed it. So now that you know the cause of the slip and fall, the challenge is holding the right party accountable.
Property owners have an obligation to ensure you are safe when you are on their premises. However, in some instances, for example, if you were inside a store at the shopping center and they have created a hazardous condition, the store (who is leasing from the owner) may have the obligation. The best way to figure out who is liable is to speak with a personal injury lawyer in Bend and let them determine liability. Here are some of the potentially liable parties:
- The owner of the property — depending on the terms of the lease agreement the shopping center has in place with the property owner the owner may be liable for any out-of-pocket costs and losses you suffered because of your injury.
- The lessee of the property — if the company leasing the facility is responsible for maintenance of the property, they may be held accountable for your losses. The specific wording in the lease is important because both the owner and the lessee may be jointly responsible for maintenance.
- The maintenance company — if there is a company hired by either the owner or the lessee to maintain the property in safe condition, they could be fully or partially responsible for any injuries patrons suffer while on the premises.
As you can see, establishing responsibility for the condition which resulted in your injury is complicated. This is why people who suffer an injury on someone’s property often turn to a personal injury lawyer who has premises liability experience.
Insurance Company Adjusters and Premises Liability
Always remember insurance companies do not want to pay claims. While we understand an insurance company collects premiums to protect their clients against a potential financial crisis, this does not mean they will simply pay the claim you submit following an injury. Quite the opposite.
The insurance company is going to go out of their way to deflect the blame for your injury to another party — including you. Here are some of the things they may claim to partially hold you responsible:
- The lifted tile was obvious, and you could have avoided it
- You were not paying attention to where you were walking
- If you were wearing different shoes you would not have fallen
As ridiculous as some of these claims may sound, do not be surprised if you hear them. The insurance company knows if they can hold you partially responsible, they may be able to pay less against your claim.
Compensation You May Claim
While every injury is different, there are some basic categories of compensation which may be included in a premises liability claim. Some of the most common include:
- Out of pocket medical costs — any medical bills you need to pay related to your injuries can be submitted as part of your claim. This is important because your treatment may not be covered even if you have existing healthcare coverage.
- Loss of wages — whether you are going to have to remain out of work for a week, month, year or permanently, you should not have to suffer wage loss. If you are entitled to collect disability payments, this amount will likely be deducted from the actual losses you suffer. You may also have the right to claim other losses including benefits and perks.
- Other costs — if you need special equipment at home, at-home care, or other services which are not covered, then you may also be able to claim these as part of your initial demand for settlement.
The best way to make sure you are filing your claim for the full amount of compensation you may be entitled to is to contact a personal injury lawyer in Bend. We will do a full evaluation of your case and make sure that any losses you should be compensated for are included in your claim. This is important because you should not consider increasing the claim amount after it has been submitted.
Finding the Right Personal Injury Law Firm in Central Oregon
At The Steele Law Firm, we know you have choices when it comes to hiring a personal injury lawyer. We also understand you have a lot of questions. Remember, you can contact us for a free consultation and if we agree that we can help you secure a settlement for your injuries, we will take your case on a contingency fee basis. That means that we do not get paid for our legal services unless we are successful in getting you compensation for your injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation and we can help you understand your legal options.