Injury from a fall at a local business
My 25 year old son fell down a set of very steep steps with narrow treads at a auto repair shop in Raleigh, NC on Tuesday, July 1, 2008 at approx 9:30 am. The fall dislocated his thumb and gave him a small cut. My daughter who was with him saw that he looked like he might be going into shock (she has trained as an EMT) so she immediately took him to the ER for treatment. She did not go back inside of the business to tell them that he had fallen. I went by later that afternoon to pick up the vehicle and inquire about filling out an accident report and I was told that they did not have any type of policy or accident forms that deals with an injury on their premises, and they are claiming that since they were unaware of the accident happening, that it probably did not occur on their property. They referred me to their corporate lawyer, but she has not returned any of my calls. I know you have a limited amount of time to report an accident, and I am trying to find out if the business has any obligation to help out with the medical expenses, and if so what process I need to follow to file an accident report.
1 Answer from Attorneys
Re: Injury from a fall at a local business
I am an attorney in Raleigh and I have handled those sorts of cases. Your son may have two claims. Whether he submits a claim form to the business is irrelevant; he has 3 years in which to file suit, and that is the only limitation. The fact that the business is denying that the event occurred is likewise irrelevant. There are building code provisions regarding the depth and height etc. of the treads and risers on stairs; a violation of the Building Code can constitute negligence. If the business was negligent (and your son was not negligent himself), then he is entitled to his medical expenses, lost earnings, and pain-and-suffering arising from this incident. Further, even if the business was not negligent (or if your son was negligent), then the business may have a type of insurance called "medical payments" coverage, which would cover some of his expenses. You may be well-advised to consult with an attorney about this, especially if the garage's lawyer will not respond to you.