Patio umbrella fell on my head and caused a concussion...

by Pam
(Los Angeles, California)

I was at a restaurant eating brunch on a patio. A patio umbrella from the table next to mine fell over onto my table, and the metal point hit me in the head. The Manager told me that the umbrella was broken and they removed it. They also closed the umbrella down that was partly over my table.

Nothing was cut, however my head was very sore. I went to the doctor the next day and was told I had a concussion. He suggested I take a couple days off to rest.

I filed a claim with the restaurant for negligence. I sent a letter by mail and email to the manager that was there that day. After a couple of weeks I didn't hear from anyone, I sent a certified letter that was signed by someone at the restaurant. That was a couple weeks ago and no one has yet to contact me.

I gave them 30 days from the date of the later to contact me which will be July 15th. If no one contacts me, do I try and call them, what are the next steps? Must I hire a lawyer, or file a lawsuit? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
Disclaimer: Information provided in our response is NOT formal legal advice. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Under no circumstances should the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Our response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Always get a formal case review from a licensed attorney in your area.

ANSWER for "Patio umbrella fell on my head and caused a concussion...":

Pam (Los Angeles, California):

"I gave them 30 days from the date of the letter to contact me..." implies a threat to take legal action if you aren't promptly contacted by a restaurant representative. If you made any threats in the letter, it wasn't a good idea. Veiled threats of litigation made by non-attorneys are rarely taken seriously.

Instead, take a breath and start again. Begin by obtaining a medical narrative from the physician who diagnosed you with a brain concussion. The narrative will have to make clear you sustained a concussion and the diagnosis was made shortly after your injury at the restaurant.

Without a medical narrative, you have no basis for a personal injury claim based on head trauma. You can write all the letters you like, but void of medical proof, your letters will likely continue to be ignored.

A brain concussion is form of serious head trauma. Because you sustained such an injury it is very likely you were driven by a family member, friend, colleague, or fellow diner to the nearest emergency room or physician. That person, and others who saw the umbrella fall on you, can serve as witnesses to your head trauma.

Next, to have the basis of a viable personal injury claim will require showing of Damages caused by the injury event. Damages can include medical bills, out of pocket expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

In conclusion, unless you have a medical narrative linking your brain concussion to the fall of the umbrella, and proof of some form of damages, you should not expect very much from the restaurant.

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,

Judge Calisi

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