Foot injury due to bad flooring?
(Los Angeles, CA)
I live in an apartment building that's run by a management company. The building is not well cared for, and I had complained several times that the old wood floors were splintering. The company did send out a floor repair man, who told me that the floors needed to be replaced because the termite damage was so bad that they were splintering.
The floors were not replaced. The management company had the floor repair people simply "staple" the wood floors where they were coming apart.
On May 2, 2013, as I was walking to the bathroom in the middle of the night, I stepped on several large "splinters". It was very painful! I was able to remove what appeared to be 2 large splinters, though there was a hole in my foot.
The injury became infected. I cleaned it out, but for 3 weeks, although the surface appeared to be healing, it still was very painful.
I finally went to urgent care and the doctor there was so concerned she made me promise to see the podiatrist the next day. It turned out that I had a deep infection, which the podiatrist ended up having to give me 2 numbing shots for (have you ever had a shot in your foot with a 4" needle!!!??) and cleaning out.
He told me I needed to keep my foot elevated for at least 24 hours and go back to see him then.
He told me if it looked like it wasn't starting to clear up, he was going to admit me to the hospital. He also informed me that if I had waited any longer, there was a good chance he would have had to admit me for several days to a week. On Friday when I went back, he found another huge piece of wood that had been imbedded in my foot all those weeks.
Over the next month and a half, I had to see him several times. The medical costs are around $1000. I lost 2 days of work, but additionally, was not able to hike or do yoga as I usually did for over 2 months. A trip I had planned the weekend after my injury was partially ruined because I couldn't put any pressure on my foot.
It took over 6 months to figure out what the insurance company would pay, which is nothing. I think I can handle this myself by using your fantastic website and letter suggestions. I really want to be reimbursed for my medical costs and possibly 2 days of work.
My sense is that they will be more likely to pay those expenses if I ask for a lot more (like for physical and emotional pain), although I really just want to use that as a way of getting them to offer to pay the other expenses. I don't want to spend a lot of time on this.
Do you feel that this is the type of thing I can do myself? How much should I ask for for pain and emotional suffering? Thank you.
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ANSWER for "Foot injury due to bad flooring?":
Mary (Los Angeles, CA):
Your injuries are serious enough to require representation by a personal injury attorney. Some injury claims, such as minor cuts and abrasions, strained ligaments and muscles, and the like (referred to as “soft tissue”), can often be handled by a victim without legal representation.
More serious injuries like fractures, scarring, deep and prolonged infections, and the like, really require an attorney.
Without an attorney you will have a difficult time convincing the insurance company to pay much more than your medical bills and out of pocket expenses for medications, and some of your lost wages.
You state you really don’t want to spend a lot of time on this. By not consulting with an attorney you are really depriving yourself of the fair and equitable compensation you deserve.
Put your claim in the hands of an experienced personal injury attorney. You won’t have to spend a substantial amount of time on your claim. Furthermore, personal injury attorneys don't charge fees in advance for their work. You will only have to pay a contingency fee of about 33.3 - 40 percent if your attorney settles your claim or wins it at trial.
In the majority of serious injury cases, experienced attorneys are able to settle their clients’ claims for substantially more than the client could have on his or her own...and we are referring to a net settlement amount for the client.
Speak with one or more attorneys. You’ll find they won’t charge you for an initial office consultation. By speaking with an attorney you will have a much better idea of the viability of your claim, and your expected net settlement amount.
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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