Cooler door fell of its hinge...

by Christina
(Fort Worth, Texas)

I opened a large cooler door to pick up two bottles of water at Central Market. The door must have had a broken hinge because it began to fall off the cooler/refrigerator. It hit my left arm, bounced twice on my right shin and landed on my right foot, pinning it underneath. This was a loud occurrence witnessed by anyone nearby.

The lady at the cash register called someone in operations who asked if I wanted an ice pack for my leg. No one has contacted me since to ask how I am; no one even offered to walk me to my car.

I have two large goose eggs with bruises on my right shin, a bruise on the back of my left arm, and two on my right foot. Nothing was broken, but I'm amazed Central Market has done nothing. The injury has been documented by my doctor and I have a photograph of the cooler sans door showing the defective hinge.

I also have my date stamped receipt for the water, with the cashier's name and a business card from the man in operations. I was not asked to fill out an incident report, but they did write down my name, address and phone number. What can I do about this? Does the store have any responsibility? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Cooler door fell of its hinge...":

Christina (Fort Worth, Texas):

At a minimum the Central Market is liable for your doctor's bills, out of pocket expenses (for things like medications, bandages, etc.), lost wages (if applicable), and for your pain and suffering.

Fortunately, your injuries weren't more serious, such as a fracture or permanent scarring, disfigurement, or other serious injury. Still, your injuries were real and you suffered unnecessarily, and as a direct result of the store's negligence in not maintaining the cooler.

An incident report would have helped, but there is no doubt the incident occurred and the Central Market's employee was aware of it.

While you can certainly seek out legal representation, at this point doing so might result in a net settlement which is less than you might be able to reach on your own.

Before going further be sure you're fully recovered, or at minimum have reached a maximum level of improvement and will no longer require medical treatment. You don't want to settle your injury claim until you are fully aware of your total medical bills and related costs for medications, etc.

Continue to contact the operations department. If you haven't heard from them within thirty days, send them a certified letter. Ask to be contacted in an effort to receive fair compensation for your injuries.

In the event the operations department continues to ignore you, you have the option of filing a small claims lawsuit against the Central Market in one of Texas Small Claims courts. Fortunately the State of Texas Small Claims Courts have jurisdiction over cases up to, and including $10,000.

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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