Visitor Question

Daughter Cut Her Head in a Hardware Store…

Submitted By: Summer (Clifton Park, NY)

Our Family was walking around a national chain hardware store looking for options on building a swing set for our 2 year old daughter Harmony. We stopped to look at the wood and were disusing the size we would need, when Harmony slipped and fell and hit her head on the corner of an I-beam turned 90 degrees to its side (so that the sharp edge was pointing up).

The corner went into her forehead hard. I picked her up and saw that she was bleeding badly from a cut to the bone. I knew it would need stitches and her nose was also bleeding. I carried her to the front of the store. The employees brought me very little medical supplies at first, then more when I said it wasn’t enough.

My husband then started to call the local Urgent Care when I asked him too, it was the closest medical help. It was 7:57pm and they didn’t pick up so we decided to take her to the closest ER. When we went outside to bring her there one of the store’s employees followed us outside. He asked for our info while my husband went to go get the car, and said he that their insurance would be paying Harmony’s medical bills. I gave him our names and phone number.

Are they liable for all my daughter’s medical bills? How will this work? Thanks for any info you can give.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Summer,

While it’s impossible to say the store is strictly liable, from the facts you present it appears they should at a minimum assume the liability for your daughter’s doctor’s bills, your out of pocket expenses (such as medications, bandages, etc), and even a pro-rated amount for gasoline for the trips back and forth to the doctor or hospital would be reasonable.

In addition, if you or your husband have to miss any work to tend to your daughter’s medical needs, you also have the basis for reimbursement for lost wages.

Most importantly is the possibility of scarring. Before you sign ANYTHING you must be sure your daughter won’t suffer permanent scarring. If there’s any chance she might, take her to a dermatologist or plastic surgeon. If the probability of scarring exists contact a personal injury attorney. Such a serious injury claim should be handled by an experienced attorney.

If you are convinced there won’t be any scarring you may be able to settle the claim yourselves.

Right now keep all your receipts. Keep in contact with the store’s manager. Hopefully they created an “Incident Report” at or near the time of the injury.

If there isn’t any scarring, you might consider requesting compensation for all of the above expenses. You should be able to calculate a reasonable settlement by multiplying your daughter’s medical bills, your out of pocket expenses and lost wages least by at least 3 – 4 times their amount.

If the store manager won’t cooperate seek the advice of a personal injury attorney. Just remember not to sign anything until you are satisfied with the amount of your daughter’s compensation.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: August 27, 2012

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