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I was injured in a slip and fall in supermarket last night but I have no medical insurance. Do I pay cash for treatment?

Sacramento, CA |

Fall was due to puddle of water on floor. The store manager saw it happen and we filled out some sort of incident report. I have been in a lot of pain ever since, but can't afford to pay a doctor today for a visit/treatment.

Attorney Answers 5

  1. You should obtain needed medical care and treatment immediately and follow your doctor's advice. Do not give any statement to the adverse party or insurance company nor grant them access to your medical records. Photograph your injuries and the damage done to any property. Contact a personal injury attorney in your area as soon as possible so that you can protect your rights. You may also find it helpful to review the Legal Guides I have published on dealing with many of the issues you are now facing.

    Most personal injury attorneys will provide you with a free initial consultation. I suggest that you take advantage of this service as soon as possible.

    Getting treated now and worrying about the bill later is what you should do. You need to document the fact that you have been injured. The insurance company will claim you are not injured because you did not seek and obtain medical care and treatment. Don't delay.

    Legal Disclaimer:

    Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to insure proper advice is received.

  2. Grocery stores will rarely pay for medical treatment, except for the initial hospital visit sometimes. You may want to try to find a personal injury lawyer who takes slip and fall cases in grocery stores and who may be willing to refer you to a doctor who provides treatment on a lien basis, where the doctor waits to be paid until the case settles.

    Your case, however, is a difficult one. Keep in mind that when you sign a lien with a doctor, it states you are ultimpately responsible for your medical bills. It's not enough that you fell. You have to prove it was due to the negligence of the grocery store. The store's response may be that they did not know about the water until you fell and that the water was from a customer and not a store employee.

  3. The prior advice is generally correct.

    Most Drs. will work with you on payment, and may not even insist upon it at the first visit. If you have to lay out money for the first visit, or as you go along, keep meticulous records of who is paid and how much, as the amount of your medical expenses may play a role, although not a direct one, in any ultimate recovery. Furthermore, if it turns out that you have a compensable claim and an attorney accepts you as a client, most Drs. will accept a "letter of protection" from the attorney which essentially states that the atty will pay outstanding medical bills from settlement or verdict proceeds.

    Some commercial insurance policies (such as maintained by supermarkets) have a "medical payments" provision, which provides for the payment of some or all of a claimant's medical expenses separate from addressing fault for the occurrence. If this market's policy does, an adjuster may offer to pay your bills in return for a release of further claims, just to make you go away. If you do hire an attorney, make sure the adjuster knows that you have one instruct them to deal only with him/her. Just like you should not give written or recorded statements as stated by the prior attorney, you should certainly not sign a release without consulting with a lawyer.

    I am not licensed to practice in California and this is general information only. No attorney-client relationship is created or intended.

  4. The store will have insurance which has what's called the med pay provision it's usually about $5000 but maybe more. That's paid without admission of liability. All you have to do is call them and demand that they pay your doctor. They will do so.

  5. My firm handles these types of cases on a daily basis. We can get you the medical treatment that you need even if you do not have insurance. Call us now for a free consultation at 800-816-1529 x. 1.

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