Customer slid out of chair...

by Lodi
(Abilene, TX, US)

I own a small business and I have chairs in my business. A large man came in to my business, went to sit in a chair and slid out of it. I am now being sued in small claims court. The chair is not faulty at all and I have signs that say "not responsible for accidents". When I watched the man walking he already looked like he was having a hard time even walking.

He approached me and told me he wants compensation for his fall and tried to explain to me what he did and almost fell again. Should I be held responsible for this and should I take an attorney to the hearing in small claims court? I'm not sure if he's even injured or if he did it on purpose and is running a scam on me.

Thanks for any information you can give to help!!

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Customer slid out of chair...":

Lodi (Abilene, TX, US):

You know better than most whether the man was injured. Moreover, unless he has medical bills directly related to treatment for his injuries, he really doesn't have a case.

Unless there was a slippery liquid or other slippery substance on the chair, or the chair malfunctioned, causing him to fall AND be injured, you have no liability for his fall. His lawsuit will fail if he can't verify actual medical treatment which directly resulted from his fall.

Take a photograph of the chair to show it's not faulty. If possible, get together some witnesses who may have seen the man limping before he sat down on the chair. If true, also ask your witnesses to state the chair had no slippery substance on it. The statements don't have to be notarized or sworn to. Your witnesses can just write down what they saw, and then sign and date their statements.

Ask your witnesses if they would agree to come to court in the event the man actually goes through with his lawsuit.

Assuming the man is concocting his story, you have a right to file a "counter-claim" against him. If he files a lawsuit and you are served with a small claims petition you can easily write your counter claim on a piece of paper, putting the case number at the top. Then file it at the courthouse under the same case number.

Your counter-claim can include a request from the judge to reimburse you for the time you missed from work, and an amount for your mental anguish. Your mental anguish can be any amount up to the maximum court jurisdiction.

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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