I slipped and fell at Publix and they told me they would pay my medical bills. What should I do?
Author: Attorney Jason Macri
Typically, when a person slips and falls at Publix, they eventually speak with the manager who creates an incident report, takes their statement and gathers contact information. The manager then sends the incident report and information to Publix risk management. Publix risk management then contacts the person who slipped and fell in an effort to gather more information. They may even request a recorded statement from the person who fell so that they can solidify the evidence and lock the injured person in on their story. This process may take a few days. The time period between the day when the person fell and the day when Publix risk management contacts the person to discuss the case further is crucial. This is because the injured person is typically ailing from their painful symptoms and hasn’t really been given enough information regarding how they will be able to get medical treatment.
Publix managers and employees are trained to make attempts to minimize a person’s medical treatment. It is true that they will typically ask the injured person on scene if they would like Publix to call 911. Most people decline this offer however because of the embarrassment associated with being picked up from their local grocery store and carted out the front door by Emergency Medical Services. Even if an injured person wasn’t concerned with the embarrassment factor of being picked up by EMS, they may be greatly concerned with the cost of an ambulance ride to the hospital. Most people know that a simple transport to the hospital could cost nearly $1000. Unfortunately, many people don’t have the luxury of being able to afford such an expensive ride. Many people would rather take themselves to the hospital.
The typical person who becomes injured at Publix wants to know how their medical treatment is going to be paid. They will typically approach a Publix manager or employee with their concerns. Publix employees are trained to ensure people that they will be able to get medical treatment. The injured person is typically told that they will be immediately contacted by risk management who will go over the details. The problem is that risk management does not typically reach out to a person right away. They typically take at least a few days to reach out to an injured person. By that time, the person’s symptoms have gotten worse and they haven’t received any significant medical treatment to speak of. Not only is this obviously bad for a person’s health, it also all but ensures the person will not have a viable case against Publix because most people would expect that when a person becomes injured, they seek medical treatment early and often.
Even when risk management finally calls, they don’t offer medical treatment right away. They will typically claim that they are still investigating the facts of the incident and that they will have an answer regarding medical treatment within a few days. When they finally do offer some form of medical treatment or medical payments coverage, they will require a signed release prior to providing any medical help. Once an injured person signs that release, their case is over. They will be forever barred from bringing a claim against Publix.
Unfortunately, this is the scenario in a great deal of slip and fall cases against Publix. Publix knows that if they can influence a person to refrain from getting medical treatment, their case will be nearly worthless. They also know that if they dangle a release out there and ask that it be signed in exchange for a minimal amount of money, a person may sign it out of desperation. The bottom line is that Publix has a team of lawyers and professionals on their side. You should have a lawyer on your side if you intend on pursuing a claim for your medical damages. Trying to handle your own claim against Publix is like a doctor trying to perform surgery on herself; Mistakes are bound to be made and those mistakes could potentially be deadly for your case.