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Top Injury Legal Questions From FindLaw Answers

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By Laura Strachan, Esq. on April 29, 2015 12:56 PM

You've got questions ... we've got answers. If you have not yet asked or answered a question in FindLaw's Answers community, what are you waiting for? This amazing free resource supports a dynamic community of legal consumers and attorneys helping each other out. Simple as that.

We see a lot of great questions in our Answers community every day. Here's a look at some recent questions relating to injuries, accident, and torts from our FindLaw Answers boards.

  • My neighbor and I aren't on the best of terms (we've had to complain several times about his late-night parties). Last week, I fell down the stairs of my apartment complex and ended up breaking my leg and hip. My neighbor saw me fall from across the courtyard, but just walked away! Even after I yelled for help and asked him to call 911! It took two hours for someone to finally walk by and call for help. Can I sue my neighbor for the pain and suffering I endured during those two hours I had to wait for help?

Wow, this poster's neighbor certainly won't be winning the "neighbor of the year" award anytime soon! As crazy as it sounds, the general legal rule is: people don't have a duty to help or assist another person that is injured or in danger.

This legal rule was created to address potential liability issues that make come up if someone were to help an injured person. What if the rescuing person actually made the injury worse? Is it fair to punish someone for being a Good Samaritan? The courts wanted to make a black-and-white rule, so they decided not to create a duty to rescue at all.

So unfortunately for this poster, he or she probably won't be able to sue the neighbor for failing to help. Of course there are always exceptions. One such exception might apply if the neighbor created the condition that caused the injury (e.g. as a prank, the neighbor left something right outside the poster's front door, ultimately causing the fall down the stairs). The Answers Community ended up advising the poster to talk to an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss the case and determine whether the landlord might actually be liable for the injuries.

  • I slipped and fell on some water in the middle of a grocery store aisle. There was no sign warning about the wet floor, so I feel like the store is responsible for my injuries. What are my next steps?

Whether this poster has a strong slip-and-fall case against the grocery store, depends on the specific facts of the situation. The burden of proof is on the poster to prove that the store knew or should have known that the water might cause a fall. An experienced personal injury attorney would assess the grocery store's liability in light of several factors, including:

  1. How the water got to be on the floor (e.g. did someone spill the water, or was the water set to over-spray in the produce aisle?);
  2. How long the water had been on the floor?
  3. Whether the store was on notice that there was water on the floor?
  4. Whether the store should have been on notice that there was water on the floor?

In addition to contacting an attorney, the poster was also advised to collect and document evidence as soon as possible. This would include taking pictures at the scene of the accident, taking pictures of the injury, and making an appointment to see a doctor. Well-organized documentation will not only help the doctor make an accurate diagnosis, it will also strengthen a case during settlement negotiations and/or during trial.

Got a question of your own? Be sure to ask our Answers Community for their suggestions. It is easy to do and a good way to get a start on finding any legal help you might need.

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