Suppose you took your car in for an oil change. You sat in the waiting area and read old magazines for a few minutes while the mechanics swapped out your oil filter and replaced the oil. When they called your name, you stood and walked up to the desk to pay the cashier.
But you never made it because you slipped down in a patch of oil that had dripped onto the waiting room floor. You wrenched your knee — badly. This did not go as planned.
In such a scenario, you could be looking at months of recuperation, surgery, physical therapy and time off work. Your medical bills could be quite substantial and even force you into debt. You really wish that you had never gotten your oil changed that day.
But there is some good news. It's possible that the negligent business owner may be liable for your fall and your subsequent injuries and financial damages. That's because proprietors have the duty to operate businesses that are free of dangerous conditions that pose hazards to the public.
In the above example where the oil was on the floor in the waiting room, a customer would not expect to encounter an oil spill on the floor in that area. Most oil change businesses have signage indicating that customers are forbidden from entering the work area, as it is expected that oil spills could cause a customer to slip and fall in the garage.
But a business owner knew or should have known that the customer waiting area should be free of spills. When oil got tracked in on an employee's shoe, it should have been wiped up immediately or marked as a hazard with a cone or other signage. When that didn't happen and you slipped and fell, it left the business owner holding the liability for your injuries.
Some business owners will immediately do the right thing and open a claim. Others have to be forced to settle their clients' injury claims. But even if the proprietor is willing to settle, it does not mean that the insurance company adjuster will offer top dollar for your claim.
It just doesn't work that way. To get the most from your claim, make sure that your personal injury attorney first reviews and approves any proposed settlement offer.