Visitor Question

Pregnant woman injured by a shopping cart pusher…

Submitted By: Michelle (Joliet, IL, USA)

I was at a big national retail store, and went inside the first door to where the shopping carts are. I was putting my 3 yr old son into the cart, and the next thing I knew I was hit with a whole row of carts (guessing around 20 or more, not 100% sure of the number) from behind by a cart pusher.

He yelled sorry and took off. I tried to see who it was but couldn’t make any features out due to the blinding sun behind him.

I am currently 31 weeks pregnant with my 5th child. I saw a chiropractor yesterday and he determined that I have whiplash. I consulted with my OB’s nurse on the phone regarding the incident. Since I have not had any contractions, my daughter is still moving; they established that they did not need to see me unless things changed.

I just got off the phone with the store’s insurance adjuster, and am trying to ensure that my chiropractic care will be taken care of. She mentioned that if the store was found negligent, that I would be given compensation for pain and suffering, plus the amount for my medical bills.

What should my next step be? Am I taking the right steps to ensure that my medical bills will be taken care of? She mentioned pain and suffering, I figured that there is some way that is calculated…what would that amount possibly be? 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 Michelle,

Before you proceed, you must overcome the issue of store negligence. While the store’s insurance adjuster implied she would pay your medical (chiropractic) bills, with an additional amount for your pain and suffering, the adjuster said those actions would be contingent upon a finding of the store’s negligence.

At this point, while it is apparent the employee was negligent, before going any further you need to consider the possibility the adjuster may finally conclude the employee was not negligent. If that occurs, you may end up being responsible for the cost of your treatment.

Contact the adjuster and ask her how long it will take to decide whether or not the employee was negligent. Moreover, ask her to send you a letter confirming the store will agree to pay your damages. Damages can include your chiropractic bills, out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Don’t expect the adjuster to actually admit the employee was negligent. That likely won’t occur. Rather, her agreement to pay your damages will be an implied acceptance of the store’s negligence

In the event the adjuster determines the employee, ergo the store, was not negligent, you will have two options. The first is to walk away with nothing. The second is to file a small claims court lawsuit.

Unless your damages are substantial, it’s unlikely you will find an attorney to accept your case. Substantial damages will have to include several thousand dollars or more. Otherwise, there won’t be sufficient compensation to make it worthwhile for an attorney to take your case.

This presumption is based on your injuries. Whiplash is considered a soft tissue injury. Soft tissue injuries aren’t usually worth very much. This is especially true when there aren’t any actual medical bills. Chiropractic bills are always scrutinized by insurance adjusters.

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,

Published: August 12, 2014

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