9.19.10: I was walking towards a Walmart entrance, parked approx 100 feet away. I rolled my ankle and fell in the parking lot from a fairly deep pothole. It was small enough in circumfrance to blend in with the rest of the pavement but deep enough to bury your ankle in. I would guess 8"-10" deep.The accident happened around 2:20 pm - 20 minutes later, a Walmart asst. manager assisted me with a report. They said CMI (insurance) would call me after viewing their video. Right after, I went to the ER and they detemined my ankle as sprained. I feel it would be in my interest to see an orthopaedic doctor as well? I'll miss a few days of work and now have ER bills. I've photos of the pothole & returned to take photos after they covered it. What are my rights & should I file a claim?
Criminal Defense Attorney
The first thing that you should do is make sure your injury is dealt with appropriately. It sounds like you have. Since you missed work and had to pay medical bills you've been damaged, so you should hire a personal injury attorney to handle the issue for you.
Whether a civil claim should be filed or the issue should be dealt with informally is a decision that can be made by you and your attorney after finding out whether the insurance company will cooperate. Keep in mind that the simple act of hiring an attorney can make an insurance company more willing to reimburse you for your damages quickly and in good faith.
If you're in the Phoenix area or if the accident occurred here I would be happy to speak with you about the issue. Good luck.
I'm sorry you were injured. You should seek all necessary treatment and cooperate with CMI. You have two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit if you cannot get the matter resolved: if one is not filed by that time, you will be barred from any further recovery. Hopefully, this is a case where the insurance will settle with you quickly once you have completed your course of treatment and all the bills are presented to them. You should expect them to offer to pay all the medical bills and time lost from work, but not much more.
Before you hire an attorney, recognize that (at 25-40% contingency) he/she may be able to get more than you would for pain and suffering, but not much unless there is some permanent impairment/major injury. Given the likely small amount an attorney would be paid, it would be hard to find one who will want to expend the time and money to take this to trial, so you will be paying him/her to settle the case for you. You also need to know that Yavapai County juries are pretty tight with their awards, and they may decide awarding you enough to pay your medical bills plus $500.00 for a sprained ankle is perfectly adequate: they may even find that Walmart is partly at fault for having a parking lot with a pothole, and you were partly at fault for not looking closely enough at where you were walking, and cut your award based on comparative fault. See what you can do to negotiate on your own before giving up 25-40% to a lawyer.
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 Avvo.com dealing with many of the issues you are now facing.
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.