Compensation for slip and fall at a casino on Indian territory?
I slipped and fell at a casino on Indian territory. There was a custodian that had came by with a heavy duty sweeper a few minutes prior, and the floor was still a little wet. There was no "wet floor" sign indicating that the floor was wet.
When I slipped, I fell against one of the huge wooden pillars near the edge of the casino floor. A casino security guard came to help me up and the on-site Paramedic was called. There were also a few witnesses (customers, casino staff, and the incident was caught on several cameras). I got their contact info, just in case.
I even spoke to a Floor Manager shortly after, while the paramedic was attending to me. The Paramedic told me that the floor usually dries fairly quickly so that may be why no wet floor signs were put out.
I followed up, and asked the Floor Manger why there were no wet floor signs put up where the floor was just mopped. She stated that all the wet floor signs were posted by the doorways, because it was raining outside.
I did suffer severe left ankle pain and swelling, some swelling on my knees and left wrist, immediately after the slip and fall. This was documented in the casino paramedic's report. I followed up with my primary care doctor and he documented in my medical records that I had sustained a sprained ankle due to the fall.
Was the casino negligent, and do I have a claim? What should I do? Thank you.
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ANSWER for "Compensation for slip and fall at a casino on Indian territory?":
From the facts you present there is no doubt that the casino was negligent. Casinos, like other commercial establishments open to the public, have a legal "duty of care" to do everything reasonably possible to protect their customers and visitors from undue harm and injury.
In your case, the casino breached that duty by not cordoning off the wet area or placing a cautionary sign at or near the wet area.
The breach of duty is referred to as "negligence." When negligence exists, and as result of that negligence a customer or other visitor is injured, that injured person has a right to be compensated for his or her damages. This includes medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
With that said, the issue of contributory negligence must be addressed. If prior to the fall you had any alcoholic beverages, whether you were intoxicated or not, any compensation you might be entitled to would be diminished by the percentage of your contributory negligence. Hopefully, you weren't drinking before your fall.
Your injury is considered a "soft tissue" injury. As a result, and barring contributory negligence, you should be entitled to reimbursement for your damages. In your case, to determine the amount of compensation you can multiply your medical bills by 3. That is a reasonable multiple for a soft tissue injury like yours.
You may be shocked, because in your case your medical bills are probably not very high. For the sake of argument, let's say your doctor bill, even if covered by insurance, amounted to $200.00 dollars. Taking into account out-of-pocket expenses, possible lost wages, and pain and suffering, your case would be worth maybe $700.00.
If you're lucky, the casino's insurance company may offer you a little more, but more likely, they won't offer much more than $500.00. If your medical bills were higher, you can use the same multiple to get the right number.
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,
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