Of course you can afford an attorney. You will find personal injury attorneys will give you free consultations and offer to sign you up on a contingency fee. Contact a local attorney and hire one you like at no cost other than when the case is settled.
You should not have a problem locating a personal injury attorney willing to provide you a free consultatiuon regarding your case. If the two of you decide to pursue your claims, you should be able to enter into a contingency contract with that attorney. He or she will only be paid if you recover from the restaurant for your damages.
You can bring a claim against them. You should have no problem finding a lawyer who is willing to handle this matter on a contingency fee basis. You also seem to have some key documentation in your possession already, which will make your claim even more enticing to a personal injury lawyer.
You do not have to worry about affording an attorney in this case. New York attorneys will take your case on a "contingency basis"; meaning they only get paid if they recover money for you. I practice in New York City and handle product liability and negligence type cases and a contingency agreement is the normal agreement in these type of cases. You need to immediately contact an attorney. You should immediately send a letter via overnight mail to preserve the chair at issue. I would also demand that the incident report be preserved. The manager may be an excellent witness for your case and you need to get a statement from him as soon as possible.
Any personal injury lawyer will handle your case on a contigency basis. The issue is this: did the restaurant have notice that the chair was defective? Notice can be actual - that they knew, or constructive - that the defect was present long enough that they should have discovered and corrected it. I would be interested to see what is in the incident report. You may be able to collect not only for the medical bills but also your pain and suffering. In addition, the restaurant may have medical pay insurance which will pay some fixed amount of medical bills regardless of whether the restaurant was negligent or not. You should retain an attorney to handle this for you otherwise you will continue to get the run around. I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle personal injury cases so please feel free to check out my web site and contact me if you wish to discuss your case.
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