Tripped and fell in a planted area...

by Jill
(San Jose, CA)

I was walking to my car in a parking lot divided by planter strips. I had to walk through one of the planted areas to get to the car. When I did I fell over a small stump and broke my elbow. The insurance adjuster says they are not liable for my medical bills, which to date total $$5000. The insurance adjuster claims I should not have walked through the planter strip, he states I should have known it's unsafe to do so.

I think this is nonsense. First off, there were no signs stating it was unsafe. Second, I couldn't see the stump visibly until I tripped over it. Third, the parking lot was divided by planter strips, so either you walk through (in this case a well worn pathway) or you walk all the way down and around to the other side, which nobody does.

Do I have a legitimate case for my medical bills and pain, or is the insurance company adjuster right? Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Tripped and fell in a planted area...":

Jill (San Jose, CA):

The insurance company claims adjuster is giving you the "run around." The first words insurance adjusters are taught at adjuster school are "claim denied." With that said this is more serious than a "soft tissue" claim. Soft tissue injuries are injuries such as sprains, minor cuts and bruises, etc. Soft tissue claims can normally be handled by a victim without the assistance of an attorney. Your injury is much more serious. A broken elbow is a "hard injury."

To have any chance of settling your clam for what it's worth you really need a qualified personal injury attorney. Most won't charge for an initial office consultation. Then their fee is only paid if they settle your case or win it at trial. If not, you owe nothing.

Here's what may happen. If you tell the adjuster you're thinking about retaining an attorney he or she will tell you something along the lines of "Well I really shouldn't offer anything, but for you I'll offer $300 dollars, or some other nominal amount." Don't be taken in by that ploy.

Your claim is worth a lot more than a few hundred dollars. It's worth several thousand dollars.

You would be best served by not speaking with the adjuster further. Instead, consult with two or three personal injury attorneys. Choose the one with whom you feel most comfortable. You'll be glad you did.

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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