We have seen it happen many times in television shows and in the cartoons we watched as children. Someone is happily frolicking down the street and the next thing you know, they have disappeared. They have unwittingly fallen down a manhole that was left uncovered. We find entertainment in such a scenario, laugh, and imagine how stupid one would have to be in order to fall down a manhole. However, this does happen in real life, and it happens more often than you think.
You could be absentmindedly walking down the street while you are on your way to work, or while at a craft fair or a parade. The next thing you know, you have tripped on a manhole cover and fall. Or, a manhole was left uncovered and you do actually fall down the hole. As funny as it was seeing this on television, the complete opposite is true if it happens in real life, as a manhole cover accident can pose serious danger and inflict some serious injury to a person.
If this happens to you or a loved one, there are three things that you need to do.
- The first is to seek immediate medical attention. The most important thing to look out for at this stage is your health. Make sure that you were not seriously injured, and the injuries that you do have are properly addressed by medical professionals. In addition to ensuring your health and safety, you will need medical documentation of any injuries you may have sustained. You will need to have your injuries properly assessed by your doctor or other healthcare practitioners. Emphasis should be put on immediately, as not seeking medical attention immediately could be detrimental to your case. The party at fault could use it against you and argue that the severity of your injury was a result of your negligence in not seeking proper medical attention in a timely manner.
- The second thing is to take photographs of the scene of the incident and gather any witnesses’ names and contact information. Also check for the establishments near where the manhole cover accident took place, as they are likely to have Closed-Circuit Television or CCTV and they might be able to provide you with footage documenting the incident. You may also contact your local authorities, and they can help you in the documentation of the same.
- The third and last thing you need to do is to call a personal injury attorney in Navarre, Florida. They will work right from the start on a personal injury claim to get you the maximum compensation you deserve.
Types of Injuries from a Fall into a Manhole
If you put aside the comedy aspect of this for a moment, you will realize just how serious these types of accidents are. It really is no laughing matter.
Imagine what the extent of someone’s injuries could be if this were to happen. We’re talking, if you are lucky, a concussion or a few broken bones, but it could also be so much worse. Falling down and getting into a manhole cover accident can lead to one or more of the following injuries, ranging from minor, serious, or even life-threatening:
- Tears and sprains;
- Broken bones and lacerations;
- Back and spinal injuries;
- Facial disfigurement
- Traumatic skull and brain injuries;
- Paralysis; or
All of these injuries are very painful and can cause some serious disruption to your everyday living. They are likely to require surgery and other forms of extensive medical intervention, plus months of physical therapy in order to fully recover.
Getting treatment can get very expensive, even with access to health insurance, and by sustaining the abovementioned injuries from an accident, you will incur an awful lot of medical bills, the exact figure of which will depend on the severity of the injuries and the hospital where you get it treated. While you’re on the mend, you will also miss a lot of time from work, which could lead to lost wages. Apart from the physical toll an accident can take on you, you also have to consider the emotional and mental anguish you will experience by reason of the said accident.
For this, you will need an experienced personal injury attorney by your side to make sure that somebody is held liable for your injuries and damages.
The City is Responsible for Public Road Maintenance in Navarre, Florida
The first thing you may ask yourself is – who do I go after for this kind of accident? You cannot really expect the business owners along the street where the accident happened to pay for your injuries as they were not the ones who caused it. Nor can you expect the person running the parade or craft fair to be held responsible. For a manhole cover accident, you really need to pursue the city or the township. They are responsible for maintaining the public roads, and part of this responsibility includes making sure manhole covers are attached properly.
It should also be noted that manholes and their covers are government property. The purpose of manholes is to serve as access points to a city or town’s sewage system. From time to time, they will need to be lifted and opened to conduct maintenance works. However, the government also has the obligation of ensuring that while maintenance and repairs are taking place and these manholes are uncovered, substantial warnings to the people are present. Further, they must make sure that the open manhole is adequately blocked to prevent people from wandering into that area.
You certainly could try to get the city to pay for your injuries. However, you should not try to file a claim against the city by yourself. The claims process can be quite complicated, and there are certain rules to follow on how to file a claim against a city. You need to make sure you follow whatever protocol the town has in place for public accidents. Your Navarre personal injury attorney is well-versed in these rules. They have years of experience and have handled dozens of cases like yours. Let them handle the legal aspect of things and give yourself the chance to solely focus on your recovery.
The city will be responsible for any damages you may suffer as a result of your accident. Your damages may include some or all of the following:
- Medical bills - this includes both past and current medical bills as well as future medical bills relating to the accident. Your lawyer may give you an expert estimate as to what your future medical bills will be. All you have to do is to present to your attorney proper documentation of your recovery process. This includes receipts for your hospital stay, physician’s notes, prescription, and your physical therapist’s documentation of your therapy.
- Lost wages – It is only natural that as you recover from the injuries you sustained from the accident, you will miss more than just a couple of days of work, and prolonged absence from your job could mean loss of income. If you missed time from work by reason of your injuries, you have a right to compensation. Make sure to provide your attorney with copies of your proof of employment, pay stubs and timesheets.
- Pain and suffering – Apart from economic damages such as medical bills from an accident and loss of income as a result of the same, the State of Florida allow for non-economic damages and lets plaintiffs demand compensation for pain and suffering. These so-called non-economic damages are harder to put into words and numbers than economic damages, and they include Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, and other forms of emotional distress which can be defined as the disturbance to one’s emotional tranquility. Your personal injury lawyer will have many ways to find proof and evidence of such. He and his dedicated staff of professionals can interview your friends, family, and coworkers to see how the accident directly impacted your life. He can also have your doctor testify to this fact.
Schedule a Consultation with a Personal Injury Lawyer in Navarre, Florida
If you or a loved one have experienced a manhole accident, you need to schedule a consultation with a personal injury lawyer. Call one in Navarre, Florida today. The consultation is free. You pay nothing to meet with an experienced personal injury lawyer and discuss your case. You may have questions or concerns you want answered. Your lawyer will want to review your case and get an idea of what it may be worth. He can also map a game plan for how best to proceed.
When you go for your initial consultation, remember to bring the following information:
- Copy of accident or police report
- Copies of medical bills
- Medical documentation related to your injuries
- Timesheets and paystubs to show lost wages
- Contact information for eye witnesses
- Any correspondence you’ve received related to the case
Remember, the consultation is FREE and you pay nothing until you win your case. The city will have plenty of lawyers fighting for them. You need to have one fighting for you!