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N Cal Attorney
N Cal Attorney, Attorney
Category: Personal Injury Law
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Experience:  since 1983
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I sustained a deep cut on one of my fingers that was caused

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I sustained a deep cut on one of my fingers that was caused by the lock on the bathroom door of a bar/lounge I was in recently. The lock was what I'll describe as sticky, meaning that I had a difficult time unlocking it and it slipped, causing my finger
to be gouged on a metal piece as the lock slid open. The wound was bad enough that it would not stop bleeding for several hours and caused quite a bit of pain for a couple weeks as it was healing. I did not seek medical attention for this injury. I did notify
the bartender when I asked her for a bandaid. Although the friend who was with me did not actually witness the incident (it was a single bathroom, so naturally nobody else was in there with me at the time it happened), he certainly observed the cut and the
fact that it would not stop bleeding (initially with the paper towel I wrapped around my finger and then with the bandaid I was given by the bartender). A couple of questions regarding the possibility of me taking legal action against the bar owner... First,
does the fact that my injury was not severe enough to warrant a trip to the ER essentially preclude me from having a legitimate shot at seeking any damages? Second, can an individual file a suit in small claims court against a business? I am not seeking to
"take them for a ride," as is sometimes a business owner's reaction. They have offered to pay any medical bills, but as I mentioned, that is not applicable because I did not seek medical attention. I am simply wanted to be compensated fairly for the pain and
suffering and lost wages (I had to miss three nights of work because I am a card dealer and was unable to use my hand to perform my job due to the pain that the motion of dealing cards caused me).
I am sorry to hear this.
You asked:
First, does the fact that my injury was not severe enough to warrant a trip to the ER essentially preclude me from having a legitimate shot at seeking any damages?
No.
Second, can an individual file a suit in small claims court against a business?
Yes, see
http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/colorado-small-claims-court-32166.html for general information
and
http://www.courts.state.co.us/userfiles/file/SmallClaimsHandBook.pdf
for more detail.
See also
http://www.courts.state.co.us/Self_Help/Local_Small_Claims.cfm
for local practices in each County.
The business probably has insurance that would cover this type of claim and it is customary to send a demand letter to the business stating something like I hereby offer to settle my claims arising out of the incident that occurred on (DATE) in which I suffered a serious cut due to a defect on the bathroom door for $X. Describe the damages and all out of pocket losses including lost wages. The demand letter then usually says please notify your insurer and ask someone to reply to this offer. If you do not reply within X number of days I will proceed to seek all available legal remedies.
You can reasonably ask for at least three times your out of pocket loss to compensate for pain and suffering. If there is a permanent scar or nerve damage, the claim would be valued higher.
This is a common type of case that is heard in small claims court, but it is even more common for claims such as yours to be settled without having to go to court. If you need to go to court, forms and instructions are linked from
http://www.courts.state.co.us/Forms/Forms_List.cfm?Form_Type_ID=237
I hope this information is helpful.
I am sorry to hear this.
You asked:
First, does the fact that my injury was not severe enough to warrant a trip to the ER essentially preclude me from having a legitimate shot at seeking any damages?
No.
Second, can an individual file a suit in small claims court against a business?
Yes, see
http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/colorado-small-claims-court-32166.html for general information
and
http://www.courts.state.co.us/userfiles/file/SmallClaimsHandBook.pdf
for more detail.
See also
http://www.courts.state.co.us/Self_Help/Local_Small_Claims.cfm
for local practices in each County.
The business probably has insurance that would cover this type of claim and it is customary to send a demand letter to the business stating something like I hereby offer to settle my claims arising out of the incident that occurred on (DATE) in which I suffered a serious cut due to a defect on the bathroom door for $X. Describe the damages and all out of pocket losses including lost wages. The demand letter then usually says please notify your insurer and ask someone to reply to this offer. If you do not reply within X number of days I will proceed to seek all available legal remedies.
You can reasonably ask for at least three times your out of pocket loss to compensate for pain and suffering. If there is a permanent scar or nerve damage, the claim would be valued higher.
This is a common type of case that is heard in small claims court, but it is even more common for claims such as yours to be settled without having to go to court. If you need to go to court, forms and instructions are linked from
http://www.courts.state.co.us/Forms/Forms_List.cfm?Form_Type_ID=237
I hope this information is helpful.
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