Trip and fall with a pre-existing back injury...

by Jaques
(Roseburg, OR)

My father-in-law had a bad back. He went into a store in California and walked over to ask an employee who was stocking shelves where an item was. He turned around to go where the employee pointed to and did not see some small boxes to the side of him which caused him to have a nasty fall.

This in turn caused him to go to the Hospital ER due to increasing pain. This happened December 6, 2008. We have tried asking numerous people what to do and this injury has made him almost incapable of walking.

He is 65 and lives in Myrtle Creek, OR. He has to ride in a scooter to be mobile. All this has caused him a lot of pain.

The insurance company of the store declined to pay his medical bills. We have been unsuccessful in locating an attorney to take his case. What should we do? Thank you for any help you can give.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Trip and fall with a pre-existing back injury...":

Jaques (Roseburg, OR):

Most attorneys look at the profitability of a case before they are willing to take it because they take them on a contingency and, to some extent, the whole industry can be a gamble.

That said, perhaps I can explain why (in my opinion) this case is difficult. You have indicated that your father tripped over boxes, but not necessarily that the boxes were:

1. stacked too high;
2. obstructing the walk way; or
3. creating a dangerous condition in any way.

Therefore, without some facts to state that the store did something wrong, it amounts to nothing more than an accidental fall which does not rise to the level of negligence.

Did your father complete an incident report? If so, it would be interesting to see how the employee or witnesses viewed the situation. Their perspective may shed light on what really happened or may provide more facts that would be helpful to your father.

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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