Would like some advice regarding a fall from an airport shuttle bus while getting off outside the Travelodge on E. Harrison St. Required a visit to the ER – broken knee-cap and torn ligaments. Accident 18th July Chicago. Referred by primary care physician to orthopedic surgeon 21st July (Kentucky). Surgery required to remove cartilage 8th Aug but have not reconstructed ligaments due to increased risks associated with surgery. Still unable to walk without crutches.
I am a 30-yr-old British citizen living and working in Kentucky on a J-1 visa and am therefore very naive about US laws/legal rights etc. Surgery occurred back here in Louisville, KY. Do not know where I stand legally and friends recommended I seek legal advice.
Airport shuttle bus insurance co. have called to take a recorded statement but I don’t wish to do this without legal advice. Thanks for your time.
–Louise, Louisville, KY
You are doing the correct thing. Good job. You get advice, then take action where your rights are preserved and protected. I applaud you.
Number 1. Do not give a statement, period! Those statements are designed to damage you and not to find the truth. They will be used against you at later proceedings so you have to be very careful and answer technically and perfectly accurately or Defendant will in bad faith call you a liar (when you are doing nothing but telling the truth). You may be giving depositions later. Don’t give a statement now.
Louise, the law of Illinois applies. The defendant here is a “common carrier” and they therefore owe you a “high degree” of care. They owe your more care then just any other person (who only owes you the duty to exercise “reasonable” care).
But, you still must demonstrate that Defendant was in some way careless. If they did something careless or had a condition that was unsafe that led to your injury, then you should retain an attorney on a contingency fee basis (no fee unless you win) and allow that attorney to protect you and prosecute the case for you.
On the other hand, if the Defendant did nothing careless and you just fell for no real reason, then you would have no claim for compensation. (It’s possible in that circumstance that they would have an insurance policy provision called MPC or medical payments coverage, wherein they would pay some of your medical bills. But, that is it.)
So, the question is, why did you fall? What did they do wrong?
Finally, a last piece of advice. When looking for a lawyer, find the best. You want a warrior who will go through the battles on your behalf. Like finding a doctor to do surgery, you want the best – the person within the upper echelon. It is no different with attorneys or any other profession.