What Should You Do If You Have Been Injured at a Business Establishment?
Interviewer: Step-by-step, what should an individual do if they are injured at a business establishment? What is the right course of action?
Stephen Boutros: The first thing that they should do is to make sure that they don’t aggravate any injury they have by moving without some type of professional assistance. They need to document what happened. Obviously if you are hurt, there is going to be a legal case.
Document as Much as You Can and Contact an Attorney
You need to report it to the manager and make sure an incident report is completed. Get a copy of the incident report and photograph as much as you can. Thankfully everyone’s got cell phones now with the cameras on.
Next, call a lawyer immediately. The insurance company for the store or the store itself is going to immediately have a lawyer that begins investigating to defend the client. You should immediately have a lawyer to prosecute the client.
Your Attorney Can Assist You with Obtaining Any Medical Help You May Need
Your lawyer should help you secure all the medical care that you need. The ultimate priority in what we do is we want to make sure that people have quality medical care. People need quality medical care and quality healthcare providers. When you don’t get that, again it goes back to what we were talking about earlier, you end up with bad medical results when you are not seeking proper medical treatment.
Your Attorney Can Handle All Communication from the Store and Insurance Company So You are Not Harassed
I notify the store and/or their insurance company that I am representing someone, so that the store and the insurance company can’t harass them. All the communication has to be through my law office. Once someone is done receiving treatment, I secure the evidence on the liability.
If a Fair Settlement Cannot Be Arrived at Through Negotiation, a Suit Is Filed against the Establishment
I secure all the evidence on their damages, the medical information, the loss wage information, and I sit down and evaluate the case, using my experience and our expertise, to see if I can negotiate a settlement. If I don’t negotiate a settlement, then I sue the company or the store.
I go through the discovery process and hope before I get to a jury trial, I am able to resolve the case for a fair amount of money. If I am not, that’s what I’m there for. I’m there to settle the case if we can for a fair amount, but if not, there’s going to be a fight. If the case is going to be in front of a jury, then you need a specialized, board certified personal injury trial lawyer to competently try your case.
Are Business Establishments Cooperative in Slip and Fall Cases?
Interviewer: What would you say is a percentage of the level of cooperation that stores provide as far as reaching a settlement versus going to trial?
Stephen Boutros: Stores are very uncooperative. The employees are uncooperative. The reason why people need lawyers ultimately is because insurance companies and corporations don’t settle cases to do the right thing. They settle cases because they are afraid of what might happen to them in court. This is especially true if the person who got hurt has a strong personal injury lawyer.
They settle cases to avoid the result of what might happen in court, not to do the right thing.
Have Some Companies become So Big They No Longer Factor in the Needs of the Consumers in Their Operations?
Interviewer: Would you say that because a company becomes so big, they start being less attentive to the needs of the consumer?
Stephen Boutros: Everything that corporate America does is driven primarily by the almighty dollar. Whatever makes the most sense for them financially is what they do.
If it means hiring extra employees to make sure the store is safe, it’s going to cost them less money than settling a few personal injury cases—then they’ll do that. If they think that the number of personal injury cases will cost less than hiring the extra employees, then they’ll just pay the personal injury cases.
The companies and corporations in this country make decisions based on what is going to cost them the least amount of money. They have shareholders and business owners and partners, and board of directors to answer to, and it’s all about the money at the end of the day.