I slipped, fell and got injured. Who will pay my medical bills?
Author: Attorney Jason Macri
Slip and falls are a common occurrence at Florida’s grocery chains like Publix, Winn Dixie, Whole Foods, Fresh Market, Wal-Mart and Target just to name a few. There are a number of causes as well. There may be a puddle of soda which has leaked from a broken Sprite bottle, a leaky roof or freezer, cooking oil or some other slippery substance which somehow made its way onto the floor. The list of potential dangers goes on and on. Let’s face it, in these stores there is a potential hazard around every corner.
Unfortunately, just because a person slips and falls at one of these stores does not mean that the store will be held liable. In Florida, we must prove that the store either knew or should have known about the presence of the slippery substance. If we cannot prove knowledge, the store will not be liable for your injury. That being said, even when it is clear that the store is negligent, don’t expect them to admit liability. You can always expect that store management and insurance companies will deny fault. They may offer medical treatment however. This offer may just be a delay tactic which I will describe further below.
Typically, when a person falls at one of Florida’s grocery chains, the manager is quickly called to the scene. Many times, emergency medical attention is offered but most people reject the offer out of embarrassment; nobody wants to be carted away on a stretcher for all to see. You may feel compelled to request medical attention after your injuries however, and this is where the trickery comes into play. Someone from the Defendant’s insurance company may offer to pay your medical bills. They may agree to do this in exchange for a release. Once that release is signed by you, your rights will forever be impaired and you will be forever barred from bringing your claim. The medical attention offered will not be extensive either. Typically a person can expect to receive one visit to an urgent care center for free. After that, you are on your own.
Instead of falling for the trickery, consult a lawyer. Your lawyer will ensure that your rights are protected and that you will not become prey to the insurance company’s tricks. Your lawyer may be able to help you find a medical provider who is willing to help you, as opposed to one who will turn you away for inability to pay. Further, your lawyer will fight for your compensation. The goal will be to help you get proper medical attention, which will be paid in full, as well as help you get compensated for your pain and suffering in the past and future, medical bills in the past and future as well as any potential lost wages and inconvenience. Certainly the insurance company will be resistant to this type of compensation but a skilled slip and fall attorney will not stop fighting for you until you are fairly and adequately compensated.