My leg was punctured by wood while sitting down in a booth...
(Mt. Washington, KY)
Went to a chain restaurant and I went to slide into the wooden booth and screamed. I thought a knife had sliced my leg. I jumped up and raised my pant's leg. I saw a piece of wood had stuck in my pants and another piece was embedded in my leg.
I asked for a manager to come to the table. An assistant manager came over and I told him what happened. I sat across from my family trying to remove the piece of wood. The asst. manager didn't have tweezers so offered a binder clip and a band aid. The manager came up and apologized and gave me 4 $5 certificates. I told him I wanted an injury form and I was heading to the ER. I explained they would have to numb it and slice it open to remove it.
I left there and were to the closest hospital ER. The ER doctor gave me enough lidocaine to remove my foot and it hurt. Since it was a deep puncture wound, I had to have a tetanus diphtheria and acellular pertussis shot, which has caused arm soreness.
I have pictures of the injury before the doctor sliced it open, pictures of the area after it was opened, and when it was taped open to drain. Watching now for infection, the doctor almost gave up on removing it and I don't know if there is any wood left in my calf.
My concern also is that Hepatitis C can live on a surface for 7 days. If the wood stuck somebody else, I wouldn't know. The manager told us that the section we were sitting in was old. They checked the booth next to us and it had the same problem.
It's been almost one week and I have heard nothing from the company. My guess is the report is sitting at the restaurant and was never sent to the claims adjuster. My question, is this something I can/should handle myself, or do I need to get a lawyer? What are my options here? Thank you for any information you can provide.
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ANSWER for "My leg was punctured by wood while sitting down in a booth...":
Cindy (Mt. Washington, KY):
There is no doubt the manager knew, or should have known the wood bench had splintered. Hopefully the manager completed an Incident Report. Each company has it's own name for an Incident Report, but basically they are all similar and summarize the accident and injury.
While you presently do not have a legal right to a copy of the report, nor have access to be able to review it, you can be confident if the Incident Report was completed, it was sent on to the chain restaurant’s company headquarters.
At this point, it doesn't appear your injuries were serious enough for a personal injury attorney to accept your case. Because of the limited amount of medical bills you sustained, you can expect the corporate office will offer you little more than reimbursement for your medical bills, out of pocket expenses, lost wages during your treatment and recovery, and possibly a small amount for your pain and suffering.
Unless your injuries worsen or become badly infected, you can probably handle the claim yourself. Ask the manager to give you the corporate office contact information. If the manager won't cooperate, go online and find the information. Contact the corporate office and explain what happened. Ask for someone to contact you to to discuss your injury claim.
Once they contact you, explain the facts and ask for fair compensation. It would not be unreasonable to start with a demand three times the amount of your medical bills, plus expenses. If you can settle at two times medical bills, you have negotiated well.
In the event the corporation refuses to cooperate, you can consider filing a small claims lawsuit. In the State of Kentucky, the maximum amount (jurisdictional limit) you can sue for is $2500.00.
You can access the State of Kentucky's Small Claims Handbook here.
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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