Medford’s wet and cold winters can make it a treacherous place to live. Slips, trips and falls usually don’t get a lot of thought in advance. However, out in public, in many retail businesses and restaurants and throughout the workplace generally, conditions that commonly result in slips, trips and falls abound – and yet, quite often, they aren’t adequately signed. There are frequently no warnings provided. For example, someone who is mopping a floor, or who has just been made aware of a beverage spill out in the lobby of their restaurant, might think “it’s alright; I’ll get to that in a few minutes,” but it only takes a second for a step in the wrong place to result in a painful and potentially debilitating injury. On the job, across America, fall-related injuries count for as many as one in four worker’s compensation claims per year, as well as millions of dollars in lost wages annually.
Among the elderly, such injuries can be particularly severe. The probability of a fall-related injury having fatal complications multiples with age. In addition, for reasons that aren’t entirely understood, statistics show that severe injury and death among the elderly in the United States as resulting from a slip, trip or fall has gone up exponentially over the last three decades. Not only are more older Americans suffering severe injury or death from falls, but a higher percentage are as well.
- Fractures: Depending upon how you land following a fall, virtually any part of the body may suffer a fracture. Fractures result from one of two occurrences: landing hard on a part of the body so as to fracture the associated bone, such as that in the hip or the pelvis, under the sudden stress, or fracturing a bone in the arm or the hand due to a flailing attempt to stop or otherwise impede one’s fall. These injuries are more severe in the elderly, being one of the leading causes of death in Americans over the age of 65, but they can lead to medical expenses and lost wages for younger individuals as well. Fractures often lead to extended casting, or even surgery, and significantly impact one’s ability to work, take care of their family, do house chores, etc.
- Lacerations: An improperly aligned hinge, the sharp edge of a table, or the solid edge of a counter top can all mean the difference between a harmless tumble and a trip to the emergency room. A severe laceration can require immediate medical intervention to help stem the loss of blood. Moderate to severe lacerations often require stitches, a series of injections to deflect the possibility of tetanus, and the lingering chance of infection. Certain considerations, such as a host of uncommon medical conditions and the vulnerability that comes with advancing age, can lead to an otherwise moderate injury becoming life-threatening. Moreover, severe lacerations can lead to permanent scarring and further complications.
- Head Injuries: Whatever their cause, head injuries are no joke. Even the less severe are cause for considerable concern, and a traumatic brain injury can be difficult to diagnose at first. This is the kind of injury that can result in death for the elderly, and in prolonged disability – as well as permanently reduced functionality – among younger victims. Anybody who strikes their head hard enough is likely to experience a few moments of dizziness and disorientation; if those persist for longer than a few seconds, or if a victim manifests such signs as a change in their personality or in their state of consciousness (perhaps appearing “out of it” or “day dreamy”) then one should seek immediate medical attention. When the brain is injured, it often swells. If the swelling becomes severe, it can lead to significant brain injury or death. Additionally, the brain can experience a bleed, which can lead to the same serious results.
Thankfully, there are many protections for the public that are in place, not the least of which includes municipal codes, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Oregon common law. Whether you’ve been hurt on the job or out in public, in a store or at a restaurant, or even while walking down the sidewalk, you need to seek reparations for any medical expenses and pain and suffering you’re experiencing. If your injury is the result of the carelessness, negligence, or oversight of another individual or corporate entity, get in touch with our Medford, OR law offices today (we also have additional representation elsewhere in the greater area). We’ll help you to figure out what you’re entitled to… and then we’ll make sure that you get it. All you have to do is focus on your recovery.
Our client was walking in a business park in Shady Cove. As she walked in the shade of an overhang, she caught her foot on a misaligned joint in the concrete, causing her to fall and fracture her ankle, which required surgery. Unfortunately, the surgery caused significant neurological complications with permanent residual symptoms. She contacted the business park’s insurer, who denied liability, arguing that the the misalignment was “open and obvious.”
How We Were Able to Help
After she hired our firm, we filed a lawsuit and took numerous depositions. We carefully gathered evidence through several witnesses that proved we were on the right side of the law, even despite the insurance company’s repeated denials. In the end, we convinced the insurer to attend a mediation just shy of trial. At mediation, which involved a complex discussion of both liability and our client’s damages, the insurance carrier finally saw the light and paid $600,000 to settle the claim.
Our client was walking on a residential sidewalk in Medford. As she walked in the shade of a tree, she caught her foot on a misaligned joint in the sidewalk, cauisng her to fall and fracture her arm, which required surgery. She contacted the homeowner’s insurer, who quickly denied liability, arguing that the sidewalk was safe, and that the misalignment was “open and obvious.”
How We Were Able to Help
After she hired our firm, we quickly mailed the property owner a letter, asking that he preserve any evidence of the condition of the sidewalk, and pointing out that this was a requirement under Oregon law. After we got nowhere with the insurance company, we filed a lawsuit. In depositions, we found out that the property owner did not preserve the evidence as he was required to do, because his insurance company told him not to. However, he reluctantly agreed that the condition of the sidewalk at the time of the fall did not meet Medford’s municipal sidewalk code. Ultimately, we took the matter to mediation, and convinced the insurance carrier to pay $378,500 to settle the claim.
Our client, an experienced electrician, was scheduled to work in a new development. He pulled up to the home where he was to complete the electrical work, collected his tools, and got out of his truck. All in a day’s work, right? Well, not exactly. When he proceeded from the street toward the house he was going to work on, he stepped on a broken irrigation valve cover. The cover gave way beneath him, and he tripped and fell on the ground, with his foot and lower leg awkwardly stuck in the irrigation valve opening, causing severe injury to his knee.
When he filed a personal injury claim to recover his accident-related medical expenses, the insurance company denied him, claiming that the irrigation valve cover broke because he “jumped onto it.”
The electrician, quite positive that he had not jumped on that irrigation cover, knew it was time to contact an experienced Oregon personal injury attorney to get help resolving his situation.
How We Were Able to Help
After he hired our firm, we set about proving that the general contractor knew the cover was broken and it was his negligence, rather than our client’s jumping, that caused the accident. We took numerous depositions from available witnesses, even contacting additional out-of-state witnesses who were able to testify that they had informed the general contractor that the irrigation valve cover was broken days before the accident happened.
With such solid evidence supporting our client’s claim that the irrigation valve cover was indeed broken, the insurance company settled, though not without a fight. In fact, it tried to argue that our client was already “damaged goods,” though we were able to refute that by coordinating with his surgeon. In the end, the client was happy his rights were firmly and successfully prosecuted by our attorneys.
Our client, a three-year old boy, was at a Portland, Oregon clothing store with his mother. Soon after arriving at the store, he asked his mother if he could use the restroom. He was following her to the restroom when he bumped into a fire extinguisher that was hanging on the wall. The eighteen-pound extinguisher, which was attached to the wall with only a regular wall hanger, fell, catching our client’s arm on the way down and nearly amputating his fingers when it hit the ground.
After this terrifying accident, our client’s mother filed a claim with the store. They denied liability, on the basis of the statements of two employees who claimed that our client was “running about wildly” and that the mother should have been watching her son more closely. They also argued that the fire extinguisher was properly attached to the wall. If the client’s mother had been terrified by the accident, now she was angry and frustrated with the store for denying her son’s claim in this premises liability accident. She contacted us for help in settling the claim.
When We Were Called
Because the clothing store denied liability, we filed a lawsuit and moved the case into litigation so we could fight their denial and get justice for our young client. We called in a fire safety expert who was able to confirm that the fire extinguisher was not properly attached to the wall – in fact, the way it was installed was a blatant violation of Oregon’s fire code. But we didn’t stop there. We also deposed two former managers from the store who testified that the fire extinguisher had fallen before, and they had both suggested securing it in a properly mounted glass cabinet to avoid just such an accident as befell our client.
How We Were Able to Help
When we presented the former managers’ testimony and the fire safety expert’s opinion, the insurance company for the clothing store changed its tune and agreed to mediate the case. We were able to negotiate an excellent settlement for our client, sparing the already stressed family a jury trial. The money won in the settlement was placed in a trust for our client’s future medical care and college expenses.
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