Severely cut leg on a metal bedframe...
(Virginia Beach, VA)
Upon entry to our hotel room, I walked past one of the queen sized beds and felt terrible pain in my left shin. I sat down on the bed to see how bad it was and when I lifted up my pants leg, I saw that I had cut my leg so severely that I saw the shin bone.
My husband called for an ambulance as we were in a unfamiliar town and he was horrified at the bleeding. The hotel manager came to the room and took pictures and told us that someone should have notified him of the danger. He told us to take pictures as well while he called the owner and in a panic, told the owner of the bedframe being concealed by a bed skirt.
I received 21 sutures and IV meds for pain, as well as a tetanus shot. After returning home the following day, I was seen by the local ER for a horrible infection, my PCP for suture removal (10 days later), and finally a plastic surgeon for infection control. I also had surgery because the evulsion did not heal and I had to have a skin graft (skin removed from my upper outer thigh).
I will have a permanent scar on both my shin and my upper thigh from the skin graft. I lost about 64 hours total from work. My bills (most covered by my health insurance) totaled over $30,000.
I think that a personal injury attorney will best be able to handle my case, but if I do decide to do this on my own, would the scar come into play when I ask for the money that I think I am due? If so, how? I am over age 45 and female. Thanks for any info you can provide.
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ANSWER for "Severely cut leg on a metal bedframe...":
Mary (Virginia Beach, VA):
Let’s examine the legal principle which applies in your case...
Hotels are bound by the doctrine of premises liability. This means a business, like the hotel, has a legal duty to do everything within reason to make their premises safe for guests, employees, and others legally on the property.
In this case, the hotel owner and/or manager knew, or should have known the bedframe posed a danger to guests. With that actual or imputed knowledge, no action was taken to repair or remove the danger. The failure to do so was a "breach" of the hotel’s legal duty to protect you from harm, which translates to the hotel owner's negligence and liability.
The hotel owner’s negligence entitles you to compensation for your damages. Damages can include your medical and therapy bills, out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If the scar developed as a direct result of the injury, then it will definitely play a role in your settlement amount.
Hopefully the hotel manager created an Incident Report in which he chronicled the event. If so, contact the manager and ask that he send you a copy. In all likelihood he will not.
Doing so would only help your injury claim in an action against the hotel. Unfortunately, at this time you don’t have a legal right to a copy. However, if the copy isn't given to you voluntarily, your attorney can subpoena it after filing suit.
Your injuries are too serious for you to handle the claim on your own. There is just too much to lose. It is unlikely the hotel’s insurance company will offer you the settlement amount you deserve. Without an attorney you have little leverage. If the insurance company offers only so much and you don’t agree, even with your best negotiating skills there is little you can do about it.
Your husband was astute when he took the photos. Make appointments to see several personal injury attorneys. Bring along copies of the photographs, the incident report (if you can get it), your medical bills and records, and receipts for your out-of-pocket expenses.
In the interim, if the hotel owner or insurance company contacts you, tell them you appreciate the call but you have decided to let your attorney handle the matter. Don't discuss anything further with them.
Fortunately, most personal injury attorneys will not charge for an initial office consultation. After reviewing all the documentation and speaking with you and your husband, the attorneys will give you a better idea of the viability of your claim, the approximate time it will take to settle the claim or pursue a lawsuit, and the approximate amount the case is worth.
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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