Visitor Question

Do I need to sue for only $8,000 in medical expenses?

Submitted By: S (California)

I fell in June 2015 while going down the street to help a person who is a friend of the homeowner. He needed a key that worked to get into the house. I was going down to the house to give him the extra key the homeowner had given me, in hopes it would work.

We live in the desert just outside Palm Springs. It was 114 degrees out that day.

I fell on the pavement on the road between our two homes. We called the Paramedics who kindly took me to the hospital where I had to have a hip replacement.

That’s about it. I just want to recover the medical expenses I owe (approximately $8,000), since I cannot afford to have Part B medical insurance (I am 74 years old). Otherwise I will have to declare bankruptcy, which I do not want to do. I want the physician and paramedics to be paid. How do I get compensated for my medical bills? Who do I sue? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear S,

Before you can consider pursuing an injury compensation claim there must be evidence of negligence. From the facts you present, there doesn’t appear to be any evidence negligence.

In the alternative, if you fell because the sidewalk was broken, or protruding, you may have a claim against the owner of the property or the city in which the sidewalk is located.

Take photos of the sidewalk. Then contact the city planning department. Give them the exact location of the sidewalk and ask if the city is responsible for maintenance of the sidewalk, or if the owner of the adjacent property is. In some cases, the city and property owner may share responsibility for the maintenance of a sidewalk.

If the city was responsible for the maintenance, whether wholly or in conjunction with the property owner, the city may deny liability based on “sovereign immunity.” Sovereign immunity means government agencies are protected by claims of negligence from injured persons. However, in some cases, a government agency can waive immunity and agree to accept liability and pay an injury claim.

If, after speaking with the city planning department, you are informed the property owner is partially or wholly responsible for the maintenance of the sidewalk, contact the homeowner and ask for the homeowner’s insurance company. Once you have that information, contact the homeowners insurance company and file a claim.

Because of the seriousness of your injuries, you would be best served by consulting with several personal injury attorneys in your area. Most will not charge for an initial office consultation.

Bring along your medical bills and records. After visiting with several personal injury attorneys you will have a better idea of the viability of your claim and the expectation of success. Here’s some information on how to choose the best injury attorney for your case.

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

Best of luck,

Published: January 28, 2016

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