A child was on his bicycle and flew over the handlebars because of a large pothole in a parking lot, which could not be seen because of poor lighting. As he goes over the handlebars he puts out his hands to break his fall. When he hits the ground, he feels a crunch in his forearm and feels horrible pain shooting up his right arm. When he's on the ground he looks at his wrist and he sees this bone coming out of the palm side.
He is taken to the emergency room, the doctor orders x-rays, and this is what he finds:
The child's parents call and want to know four things:
- Can they bring a claim against the owner of the parking lot?
- Can they get some assistance for their son's high medical expenses?
- If they are able to bring a claim, what kind of compensation can they get for their son? And
- Does their son have anything to worry about in the future with a Colles' fracture?
Let's try to answer these questions.
Can they file a claim against the owner of the parking lot?
If their son was on the property for a proper purpose, a claim can be made against the property owner. A property owner has a duty to keep their property in a reasonably safe condition. In this case, the property owner did not have proper lighting and didn't repair or block off a large pothole.
Can they get some assistance for their son's medical expenses?
If the property was insured, odds are there is a medical payments provision in the insurance policy. Medical payments insurance pays for reasonable and necessary medical expenses for a person hurt on someone else's property regardless of fault.
If there is no medical payments insurance and no health insurance then the parents can try to apply to for short term Medicaid to pay the medical expenses.
If they do not qualify for Medicaid, we attempt to work with the healthcare providers to forego collection of the bills and allow us some time to see if we are able to get recovery from the property owner or his insurance company.
What kind of compensation can they get for their son?
If we are able to show that the property was unreasonably dangerous, he could receive compensation for the following:
- Past and future medical expenses; and
- Pain and suffering
- If it's an adult, the adult can also receive payment for past-lost wages or loss of the ability to earn money in the future because of the injury
Does their son have anything to worry about in the future with a Colles' fracture?
Maybe. Sometimes Colles' fractures heal up without any residual problems. Other times, because the bone displaces, there is a good chance that the bone will heal with a deformity. Whether the deformity causes a functional problem depends on the closeness to the wrist.
Colles' fractures after an accident can have severe consequences so it is very important to make sure you understand what the long-term future looks like before you resolve your claim.
x-ray is courtesy of http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Colles_fracture.JPG#mediaviewer/File:Colles_fracture.JPG – User:Ashish j29