Fall in a Parking Lot Causes Knee Injury...
(Grand Rapids, MI USA)
I had knee surgery in January. This past Saturday I slipped and fell at the entry way in a parking lot. It forced my knee to bend way more then it has since the surgery. I immediately notified the greeter inside the door, then called back the next day and filed an incident report with their customer service manager because it was really bothering me.
Since then the knee injury has been more painful everyday and it feels like it may have messed up something they did during the surgery. I called my knee doctor and have an appointment next Tuesday to get x-rays (that's the soonest I could get in).
I told the lady at the store that it was so slick that it felt like oil or something had spilled there and she flat out said "no, that area just gets extremely slippery when it's wet out." So they know it's an area where someone could get hurt and did nothing to prevent it.
I just want to know what my rights are as far as expenses for my doctor's visit, if they have to do surgery again, and the time I'd miss work? Also I'm concerned because my Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is used up at my job for this year (from the previous surgery), so if I need surgery again I could possibly lose my job. Thanks for any help you can give.
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ANSWER for "Fall in a Parking Lot Causes Knee Injury...":
Sara (Grand Rapids, MI, USA):
It appears your fall in the parking lot exacerbated your prior injury and surgery. Prevailing in these types of case can be very difficult. The proverbial questions remain:
-Where did the previous injury end, and where did the new injury begin?
-Did your fall aggravate your previous injury, or did your fall create a new injury?
-Which part of your new pain and discomfort was as a result of your prior injury and surgery, and what part of your present injury?
These questions and more make prevailing in a case very difficult for the person who has been injured under similar circumstances.
When you see your orthopedic surgeon next week you should ask her if she is able to identify the difference between your prior injury and the present one, and if so would she would be able to write a Medical Narrative stating with a “Degree of Medical Certainty” that your new injury is in fact a new injury independent of your previous injury and surgery.
From our experience physicians are very reluctant to commit to writing in a Medical Narrative the delineation between past and present injuries. It is just too difficult in most cases. Even in what appear to be the clearest of cases, when an injured part of the body becomes reinjured, it is still difficult to successfully determine the difference.
If after speaking with your Orthopedic surgeon she agrees to commit to creating a Medical Narrative stating with a “Degree of Medical Certainty” the new injury to your knee is in fact a new and independent injury, you will then be correctly positioned to pursue a case against the owner and manger of the parking lot in which you were injured.
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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