Restaurant Owner Refusing to Give Incident Report...
I was at a small bar and grill last week with three friends. We sat at a table with four chairs that looked to be set up on an old stage of some kind. It was painted black which blended in with the black floor.
We were there for an hour and fifteen minutes and I was not intoxicated by any means. There was no lighting or railing or sign of any kind, so when I stood up to go to the restroom, I fell and injured my leg and foot. My three witnesses saw me fall and two employees also saw the incident.
I then proceeded to work my way to the owner to explain what had happened. She asked me if I wanted an accident report. I told her I wanted to go home and take a look at my foot and leg and make sure it wasn't just a really bad sprain. I've never broken a bone and wasn't really sure. I thought if it was worse in the morning, I would ask for the report at that time. She said that, that would be fine and hoped I felt better.
I got home and the pain was worse. I took off my pants and shoes and saw that my foot was severely swollen and bruised. I asked my husband to get me ice and I applied it to my foot. The next morning I couldn't walk at all on my right foot.
I had sent my daughter to get the accident report that the owner said I was welcome to. When she got there to get it, the owner replied that I should've got it last nite, that it was too late. This upset me since I knew her and thought that she was a better person than that.
My husband took me to the emergency room and after the x-rays I was informed that I did indeed break my right foot. I took pictures of where the table was located and and it is indeed dark with a big drop off. I also took photos of all my injuries.
I don't have insurance and think that the owner is liable for my injuries. Do I have a case or is the owner correct that I waited too long? What can I do? Thank you.
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ANSWER for "Restaurant Owner Refusing to Give Incident Report...":
Michele (North Carolina)
You haven't waited too long. In fact under the North Carolina Statute of Limitations you have up to 3 years to either settle your personal injury claim or file a lawsuit.
Don't worry too much about not having an "Incident Report". You have witnesses and you did speak with the owner immediately after suffering your injury.
Collect your medical bills. Save receipts for your out of pocket expenses such as prescription and over the counter medications, and the costs of crutches, bandages, etc. Out of Pocket expenses also include the cost of hospital or doctor's office parking fees, and even a pro-rated amount for the gasoline you've had to purchase while going back and forth from treatment.
If you've been unable to work for any period of time after the injury be sure to secure written verification from your employer confirming the amount of wages you've lost while recovering.
Send a certified return receipt requested notification letter to the owner. For a sample Notification letter go to this page of sample letters. You will see a sample Notification letter for a "Slip and Fall" claim. Use the basis of that letter and tailor it for your needs.
If the owner doesn't cooperate you can either seek the advice and counsel of a personal injury attorney or file a lawsuit in Small Claims Court. Most attorneys won't charge any fee for an initial office consultation.
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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