This guest post is courtesy of Mr. Shane Hobbs, the owner of Dalworth Rug Cleaning, a Dallas based textile cleaning company. The business was founded in 1976 and has evolved through the years to provide comprehensive cleaning services such as Oriental rug cleaning, preservation, repairs, wrapping, and storage.
Living near the Gulf Coast, you were used to dealing with all kinds of inclement weather; tornadoes, tropical storms, hurricanes, you survived it all. And when Hurricane Ike hit Galveston, you were ready. What you weren’t prepared for was your trip to Lowe’s in the aftermath. As you were grabbing a box of nails, a worker on a hydraulic lift didn’t see you and proceeded to knock you over, flat on your back. The injury resulted in damage to your lower back and spinal cord. Now what? Let’s look at your legal options.
- First of all, make sure you seek immediate treatment. If you need an ambulance, then request one. The severity of the injury shouldn’t be left up to the store manager to judge. Some injuries, as with a spinal cord or back, could end up causing permanent injury—including paralysis—if not treated quickly and with all proper precautions. Err on the side of caution.
- DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING – this is critical. The company’s insurance may want you to agree to medical costs only right away, trying to take advantage of your ignorance of your rights, or catch you in a weak or traumatized moment. You will regret your hastiness later if you end up requiring additional therapies or surgical procedures not covered by your initial agreement. Keep your statements mum as well. Remember, the insurance company is wanting to prevent any extra compensation as much as you will need to be fighting for every penny to cover your own costs.
- Hire a personal injury attorney. Start your research and ask friends and family for their advice. Chances are they will suggest someone reputable who is after your best interests, namely proper compensation. You can bet the company in question will have their legal team in place to fight your claims and it would behoove you to have someone equally aggressive on your side. You’re not a lawyer, you are the victim. You need someone somewhat removed from all the emotional angst, someone who can be that reassuring hand to guide you through this difficult time with a pragmatic and reasonable plan in mind.
Remember, you have rights. You were the victim here, and certainly not the cause of this injury. Negligence will be a crucial factor in determining recourse. Keep your emotions intact. Of course this may be difficult, especially when you are in a great amount of pain or completely infuriated with the insurance company’s defense and possible mischaracterization of the injurious events. Above all, seek legal advice, quickly. You don’t want to leave any room for compensatory damages lost due to ignorance or hasty decisions. This is your life you are talking about and the quality for the rest of it could hinge on proper treatment and monies owed.
People often forget how fragile life is, so protect yourself as best you can but always expect the unexpected. Fighting for your rights can be difficult, so choose someone you have confidence in to be your best advocate. Someone who will be that critical difference between suffering and finding joy in your life once more.