Visitor Question

Negotiating with store’s insurance company after getting a black eye?

Submitted By: Wanda (Atlanta, Georgia)

I was shopping in at a Home store. While walking to the register, something got my attention, and I looked to the right but kept walking forward. That’s when I ran into a pole (inside beam) really hard. The metal beam was in the middle of the floor. Instantly, I knew it was bad as I could feel a knot forming on my eye near my eyebrow.

The manager called an ambulance and filled out an incident report. Four days later the store’s insurance company called and I have not returned the call as I am gathering information to see how to proceed.

As a result of the incident, I now have a black eye. The knot has decreased a bit because I constantly applied ice to my head to diminish the swelling. I want to give it some time to see how my face heals before I negotiate with the insurance company hoping there will be no long term scars. Any tips? Thank you.

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 Wanda,

The Home store’s insurance company needs to investigate the incident to determine the type and extent of your injuries and their cause. If the insurance company determines their insured was negligent, they may offer to compensate you for your medical bills and resulting costs. If they determine their insured was not negligent they will not be obligated to offer you any compensation.

Moreover, the State of Georgia operates under the Modified Comparative Negligence Rule. Under Section 51-11-7 of the Georgia Code, if the victim is found to have been fifty percent (50%) or more responsible for his or her own injuries, the first party (in this case the Home store) is not required to compensate the victim, and the victim has no legal right to force the first party to pay any compensation.

In your case, the store’s liability must be initially based on their negligence. Based on the facts, liability is questionable. You admit you were distracted when you looked to the right. In so doing, you walked into the metal pole.

However, it is arguable the store should have padded the pole or at least cordoned off the area. Here is where the issue of Modified Comparative Negligence enters.

If it is determined your having been distracted represented 50% or more contributory negligence, you may be barred from pursuit of your injury claim.

Finally, even if the insurance company determines their insured was not negligent, or that your distraction constituted 50% or more comparative negligence, they may still offer you a “Nuisance” settlement. This is basically a nominal amount paid to you to bring an end to the claim.

Learn more here: Retail Store Injury Claims

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 with your claim,

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