I'm in California and slipped and fell at a walmart as i was leaving-i slipped on a chocolate candy wrapper that was on the floor. Their claims department called me two days later to confirm and i told them i had fractured my elbow. They said they would call me back in two weeks and to follow my doctors orders. I have been paying my copay and following the doctor's instructions. Should i continue talking to walmart's claims dept or should i get a lawyer? since i've been covering all my copays will i owe my health insurance anything if i get something from walmart? how long will all this take? if i need a lawyer, what is a fair % for the lawyer to ask for?
You need to immediately consult with a personal injury attorney as they can properly negotiate and litigate this matter with Walmart if need be and get you compensated for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and loss of earnings.
The % a lawyer takes varies, but is generally between 25% and 40% depending on how far the case goes. Many attorneys on this site offer free consultations and list their contingency percentage on their profile.
I live and work in Southern California and deal with accidents like yours all the time, so I am happy to answer your question. The answer to your question is that the best thing to do is to hire an attorney and have the attorney deal with your health insurance company as well because they are entitled to a reimbursement! Moreover, Walmart will probably want to purposefully take a recorded statement from you in order to pin down your statement and weaken your case, hopefully you didn't do this. You should definitely not talk to them until you have hired an attorney. Do you feel that you are at the same medical condition that you were before the accident? As a basic premise I wouldn't handle your claim by yourself. The attorney you hire can likely refer you to a doctor, if you ask for one, who will see you with no upfront payment! I've done this many times to help my clients out. You should not wait a single day to hire a lawyer, we will advise you on the strategy of your case and get you a rental if you need one.
You have some great facts, but your case definitely needs to be developed further to corroborate your story. You should hire an attorney so you're not bullied around! There is no upfront cost to hire an attorney. With a case like yours it seems like you have some good facts in order to get a high settlement. The most important thing when building your case are: liability (were you at fault); how bad are your injuries to your body. A lot of these things sound like they are not complete yet in your case so its something that is worth hiring an attorney for in order to get a sense of whether you have a case and what the strategy would be for you to build a strong case! I've handled many of these cases in the La Puente area.
All attorneys charge anywhere between 33-40%, but quality is most important.
I agree with Mr. Schoen. You should consult with an attorney and do not speak with Walmart’s claims department. You will have to pay your insurance back if you receive any settlement or award from this incident even if you paid the co-pay. There is no way to say how long the process will take because it depends on a number of things too long to list for this post. Good luck.
You absolutely should get an attorney. An elbow fracture is a very serious injury! Studies consistently show that injured individuals with lawyers recover more than those without. This is a terrible accident. There is nothing worse than being injured by the carelessness of others.
Avvo does not permit us to say in these posts that we are available to offer to work on your case, but many of us do work in this area and represent numerous clients who have been the victims of similar situations.
Take care, and I am sorry this has happened to you.
Rabeh M. A. Soofi, Attorney
SOOFI | Legal Counsel
5670 Wilshire Blvd. – 18th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(213) 986-3450 (fax)
ATTORNEY ADVERTISING MATERIAL. Please know that I am providing you with general information, not legal advice. No attorney-client relationship will exist until a written agreement is signed by both parties. No promises, guarantees, or representations are made about the outcome of your case - lawsuits are unpredictable by nature and each case is unique.
1. If you feel Walmart will treat you fairly and compensate you for your damages (medical expenses, co-pay reimbursement, lost wages and loss of earning capacity, if any; future damages, if any; pain and suffering, etc.) then perhaps you don't need a lawyer. However, don't be naive as (a) Walmart will never willingly fully cover all of your damages, and (b) asking bunch of lawyers if you need to hire one and expecting to hear anything but an absilute "yes" is like asking kids if they would refuse ice cream. :)
2. As for having to repay your health insurance, you have to review your health insurance policy to see if there is such reimbursement provision. Usually there are such provisions, but it is best to check it out.
3. In California there tours of cases must be filed within two years of is occurrence. If you'd like, you can file your lawsuit tomorrow. However, it is wise to wait and see how you're healing progresses so you can present more complete claim.
4. Fairness of percentage is a difficult one. The lower the percentage the better it will be for you. The contrary will be true for the lawyer. So, the question becomes fair for who?
For example, let's say you hire someone who claims to be an experienced PI lawyer at 20 or 25% and that person turns out not so experienced and resolves your case at $10K. His/her fee will be $2K or $2.5K. Whereas, if you hire a real good trial lawyer at 40 or 45% even who resolves your case at $400K and puts over 20 times more money in your pocket. You get my drift. Basically if you go to someone so desperate who will try and undercut everyone you will end up with what you have paid for, a substandard representation!
My suggestion is you check the lawyers' avvo rating and client reviews if you don't personally know a really good lawyer. You can also ask your friends and relatives for recommendation. No matter where you get your lead, do your homework and check the lawyer's qualifications and the rating before you hire one.
First I want to say I hope you are feeling better and that I'm sorry about your injury accident. This is a very serious injury and one that may require rehabilitation after the bones heal. You did the right thing by going to the doctor immediately and reporting the accident to Walmart promptly. Now you need to interview a personal injury attorney to help you obtain fair compensation for your current and future losses. Make sure you hire an experienced attorney who specifically handles this type of accident because you don't want to go up against Walmart with someone fresh out of law school. Most attorneys work on a contingency fee starting at about 33 percent, but if the case goes to trial the percentage may increase to reflect the extra time and resources required to win the case. You should contact an attorney right away to discuss this matter.
You should definitely not discuss this matter further with Walmart directly and consult with a personal injury attorney immediately. Walmart will not voluntarily do the right thing by you and it sounds like your case may not be strong to begin with unless you can prove that the wrapper was a dangerous condition and that Walmart created the condition or knew or should have known it was there and posed a danger for a significant period of time without cleaning it up. If they had a video camera it might provide the missing info. The attorney can demand that it be preserved.
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