I was a patron at a nightclub in California Feb 2009. When I went on the dance-floor with my friends and began to dance I slipped and fell twisting my ankle as I went down. I felt the ground and it was wet with alcohol and beer; I could not stand up and as a result got stepped on multiple times by dancers. The club security brought me out and called an ambulance to the club. I suffered a sprained ankle and over $2000 in medical bills. I have a witness that was with me the entire duration and will testify on my behalf to the aforementioned. I need to know how strong my case is and what torts I can sue for. The case is scheduled to be tried via binding arbitration next week. Any help would be immensely appreciated.
There really aren't enough facts to answer the questions you posted. First and foremost we do not know how significant your injuries are, i.e. are there long lasting effects, do you need any follow up treatment, did you miss any work etc. For this type of case you will need to show the club was negligent, i.e. allowed to many people into club. Most importantly you will need to show the liquid was on the floor longer than a reasonably prudent club would take to clean it up. Obviously a club or any premises cannot be expected to clean up all messes immediately.
You should consult an attorney to go over all the facts and see if you can get out of arbitration as it may not be in your best interest. Good luck.
Mr. Smith is licensed to practice in CA. His response here 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 in question. Many times the questioner may leave out details which would make the reply unsuitable. Mr. Smith strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their own state to acquire more information.
You should retain experienced personal injury legal counsel. It seems premature to go to binding arbitration because the accident happened in February. It would probably be better to wait a little longer and make sure you really know what, if any residual, injury or loss you may have sustained.
The owner of premises open to the public has an obligation to use ordinary care in the operation , management, and maintenance of the premises. The factors that you ask about would all have to be analyzed by a competent attorney. I believe it would be a mistake for you to try your binding arbitration yourself.
Your primary cause of action is one for negligence or premises liability. However, the facts that you have presented involve a number of technical areas of the law. It is not ethical nor feasible for an attorney to assess the strength or weakness of your case based on the brief synopsis that you have presented.
Attorneys would evaluate many factors in determining liability and comparative fault. An expert could be required to assess the lighting, the floor design, the occupancy load as well as gathering information on the facts of that night. Additionally, the nature of the treatment would also be something that would have to be analyzed. Not all businesses have insurance; however, because of the low medical expenses incurred, even if the business didn't have insurance, it seems reasonable that the business would be able to respond in damages. However, that is still an issue.
My advice - hire an attorney.
Get a lawyer to assist you in the arbitration. Your rights need to be protected and unless you approach protecting your rights correctly, you may lose them. Litigation may be a better option. Talk it through with counsel.
My Legal Guide might be helpful Successful Start for a Personal Injury Lawsuit
An attorney on your side will do things like securing a protective order to preserve the video evidence, get the proper photographs to record lighting capacity, deal with securing witnesses that can stand for your side of the story, and more.....
If you do not have all this done already, get a lawyer.
Good luck to you.
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