A reader recently asked this question: “A loose door at a casino fell on me when I pulled the handle. It was heavy and knocked me to the floor and broke my ankle. There is video of this happening, but I’ve been afraid to sue because I was drunk when it happened. Is it possible for an attorney to still make a case so that the casino will pay my medical bills, even if I was intoxicated? Will video evidence make any difference?”
The shortest, quickest answer is: Yes, you can sue the casino for payment of your medical bills and potentially other damages.
However, there are caveats to this short and quick answer. Intoxication can absolutely affect the viability of your case. But like every other instance that involves both medical and legal issues, whether or not your personal injury claim will be successful relies on a number of factors. In this case, having video evidence of the incident can help while being drunk can potentially hurt your case.
Talking to a personal injury attorney is the only way to know if you may have a claim. That said, there are some common considerations that apply to almost every personal injury suit, including this one. And video evidence is almost always helpful in evaluating whether your claim is worth pursuing.
When Can I Sue a Business for a Personal Injury?
Brick and mortar businesses have an obligation to keep their premises safe for customers. This is why they carry premises liability insurance. Premises liability is the responsibility of an owner or operator of a business for injuries that happen on a property because conditions are dangerous.
Like virtually any other business, casino owners have a duty to maintain a safe environment for their customers. That said, casino owners (or any business owner, for that matter) have no obligation to keep customers safe from every possible danger. The standard is usually that of being reasonable and prudent. This means that if an average casino manager knows that staff should properly maintain doors, it’s reasonable to expect those doors are safe to use.
There is precedent that a casino can be held responsible for an improperly maintained environment that results in personal injury to a customer. While the situation isn’t an exact replica of this one, they share similar elements. First, a casino’s improperly maintained door resulted in a broken bone. Regardless of the specifics, consumers can hold businesses legally and financially responsible if they fail to make a reasonable effort to maintain their property and protect customers from foreseeable harm.
In a case like the one in question, an attorney could likely show that a casino owner or operator could reasonably foresee that not properly securing a heavy door could create an unsafe environment for customers. That customer’s intoxicated state is a separate issue. The casino’s improperly secured door poses a hazard for anyone on the premises, not just someone who’s drinking.
How Does Video Evidence Help My Case?
Video evidence is one of the strongest things you can show an attorney. Why? Because it is impossible to refute. Everything that happened is right there on camera, recorded for all to see.
This is much more reliable evidence than even you or an eyewitness recounting your story. Studies and real-life examples prove that memory is fallible. The reason is because our memories aren’t like video tape, meaning we don’t simply remember an event. Instead, we remember a story about the event. And when we remember a story, we are susceptible to factors that can shift those memories away from what actually happened.
Video evidence, however, provides an account of what happened based on facts. It can show how you touched the handle of a door that then fell on you and broke your ankle. Video evidence shows the proof without any interpretation based on opinion, the person’s line of sight or state of mind.
Should I Talk to an Attorney?
Cases like the one in question are more complicated than you might think. It’s important to remember that only an attorney who understands the state’s laws where your accident happened can properly advise you.
Consulting a personal injury attorney isn’t difficult, and best of all, it’s free. It’s also the only way to know if you actually have a claim strong enough to warrant pursuing. Why not show your video evidence to a lawyer near you before deciding whether to move forward with a claim?
Our personal injury attorneys work on contingency. In other words, you pay nothing out of pocket now and only owe a fee if you win.
Ready to see if you may qualify? Complete your free online personal injury case evaluation now!
Lisa Allen is a writer and editor who lives in suburban Kansas City. She holds MFAs in Creative Nonfiction and Poetry, both from the Solstice Low-Residency Program in Creative Writing at Pine Manor College. Prior to becoming a writer, Lisa worked as a paralegal, where she specialized in real estate in and around Chicago.