Injured in a Department Store...
(New Orleans, LA)
I was at a large department store and a child pushed the emergency button on the escalator causing it to stop suddenly. I started falling forward and managed to stop myself, but must have twisted/pulled muscles in my back.
The department store said they would send me a gift card for $100 if I would sign a release form. They said this was just a "nice" thing for them to do because they are not responsible because they are "self-insured".
What they said doesn't make sense to me. I've heard stories of another store being held responsible when someone slipped on an apple peel, and another one where a burglar was awarded money when he cut himself on the glass he broke to enter the residence illegally.
Is the department store responsible for my medical bills?
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ANSWER for "Injured in a Department Store...":
The answer is a bit complicated. First you will have to have medical bills. Without them you have no legitimate claim. Second, and presuming you do have medical bills, you will need to submit them to the executive office in the store. Each major store has one. From the facts you present the store in question had its own elevator which can not be accessed by any persons other than the store’s customers. If it is not then the store will probably not be uniquely liable for the damages caused.
If the store refuses to pay you can sue them. The maximum amount one can sue for in Louisiana Small Claims Courts is $5,000. So if your medical bills are less than that amount you can take advantage of the Small Claims process.
In the suit you can ask for actual damages - those would be the medical bills and any out of pocket expenses you incurred such as loss of wages, doctors bills, physical therapy, prescription and other medicines you purchased for pain, and even the fees for any parking lots when going to all of these places. If the sum of those amounts equals – for the sake of argument we will say $3,000 - you can ask the judge to award you an additional $2,000 for the Mental Anguish this case has caused.
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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