Injured Knee Slipping on Black Ice...
(Paterson, NJ, USA)
On February 9th, 2012 I went to a bank and used an inside ATM machine to get some cash. On the way out there was a big patch of black ice where I was walking and I fell. I'm 64 years old and when I fell I could not get up right away. My daughter was with me and I told her to wait a few minutes. My right knee was on the ice and the other foot was out in front of me. A witness called out from near her car to ask if we needed help.
I finally asked my daughter to help me up and she did, and she walked with me as I was limping slowly to my car. I didn't think the injury was that bad and I made a mistake by not going to the hospital to have it checked out immediately. I didn't have any health insurance and didn't know what to expect.
We then called the bank and told them what happened. The branch manager called me back got some information and said she will give it to security. We gave them both my cell phone and my daughter's cell number to call us back. They then told us that we would receive a call from their insurance company, which I haven't yet received.
My right knee is in a lot of pain whenever I walk on stairs, kneel, or stretch. I also have some slight lower back pain. I just would like to know what's my best option to pursue this? And wanted to know if it was their negligence for not de-icing the area near the bank? Thanks for any info you can give.
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ANSWER for "Injured Knee Slipping on Black Ice...":
Sonia (Paterson, NJ, USA):
Go to a local emergency room, local medical clinic, or to a licensed physician. Although you don't have health insurance you still must seek medical attention, if not to pursue a civil case against the bank, then at least for the sake of your health.
Without medical verification of your injuries you will not have sufficient grounds upon which to pursue a civil claim against the bank. And the only manner in which you can obtain medical verification is to seek medical attention. Without one you can't have the other.
It is actually fortuitous the bank's insurance company hasn't contacted you yet. If they had you would have had nothing of any value to discuss.
The bank has several security cameras. That will be in your favor. Your fall will be clearly evidenced on at least one of them. As a result you won't have to worry about proving you fell.
Let's talk about the de-icing issues. Whether the bank de-iced the area upon which you fell won't matter very much. As long as you fell on the bank's property you won't have to be concerned about liability. The bank's insurance should not hesitate to compensate you for your injuries.
If you see a doctor she may send you for tests. One of those will undoubtedly be an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) exam. MRI's are more modern, and more powerful than x-rays in identifying damage to areas of the body, especially knees and other joints.
If after seeing a physician your injuries are only a swollen knee, your case against the bank won't be worth very much. If on the other hand you damaged your knee cartilage or suffered any other serious injuries, your case will be worth pursuing.
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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