Can I handle a personal injury case against a supermarket myself?

by Paul
(Los Angeles, California)

I smashed my knee into a metal pole/pipe sticking out of the floor while shopping in the supermarket. The metal poles were situated outside of each corner of the wooden box holding the fruits and vegetables. I have no idea why they were there. It was a clear danger to customers (easy to trip over or hit it with your legs like I did).

The poles were not covered by material like rubber or something similar to protect customers. I could hardly walk after I smashed my knee into it. I did not see it since it was only about knee high. The manager took pictures of my knee, said he will make the report and informed me of the cameras in the store.

The corporate office received the report and I have asked them to preserve all evidence from the accident. Since my knee was swollen and I had pain I went to see a doctor. The x-ray did not show much and now I am waiting for the MRI. All this takes time (little more than a week for now).

I'm having a problem finding an attorney. They are not interested, saying the case is too small. Can I handle a personal injury case myself? How do I do it? Any information you can give would be helpful. Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Can I handle a personal injury case against a supermarket myself?":

Paul (Los Angeles, California):

You are correct in stating it would be difficult to find an attorney to accept your case. It is true, there doesn't appear to be enough money in the case for it to be worthwhile of an attorney's time and effort.

You can handle the claim by yourself, but don't expect miracles. You can expect to be reimbursed for your x-rays, and possibly for the MRI, but only if the doctor ordered the MRI. While you asked the corporate office to preserve the evidence, you should know they are not under any legal obligation to do so. You can send them a spoliation of evidence letter, which may help.

To handle the case by yourself you will need to keep in touch with the corporate office. Tell them you are still being treated and tested for possible injuries, and that you will let them know when your treatment and recovery has ended.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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