Can I seek money even if I'm not seeking it for medical bills? 12 Answers as of June 30, 2014

My shopping cart fell into a pot hole in the parking. My back and neck was injured but not seriously. I am trying to get them to pay for my pain and suffering not medical bills. I get panic attacks when I leave the house so I chose not to go. I also was in the middle of getting a doctor. I was offered way less than I asked for. Because they were so uncaring of this incident and treated me like scum, I decided to file a lawsuit in small claims court. In his response, he wrote blatant lies that I can prove. Aren't I entitled for something? It was night, the lighting was very poor. Can I sue them for punitive damages? Any help would be appreciated.

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Candiano Law Office
Candiano Law Office | Charles J. Candiano
You are not entitled to punitive damages. Without a doctor to support your alleged injuries, you will get zero in any court action.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 6/30/2014
Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
Why waste your time? First off, under Michigan law, if the pot hole was readily visible and you just were not paying attention, then you are going to lose. Secondly, your pain and suffering is connected to the type of medical treatment, the amount of bills, the length of time of symptoms, etc. It does not seem like your case is worth much and so it will probably not be worth the effort.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 6/13/2014
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
If you don't have a significant injury and you don't have doctors and doctor bills you wont get very far.punitive damages because your feelings are hurt? Take what you can get and get on with your life. In this real world of ours we get paid for real injuries and real bills, not for hurt feelings.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 6/13/2014
EDWARD M. MILLER, PC
EDWARD M. MILLER, PC | EDWARD M. MILLER
Looks like you have passed the point at which you could be helped by hiring a lawyer. Michigan does not allow punitive damages, nor damages for rudeness and lack of compassion. You can collect for pain and suffering if you can prove that the defect was not "open and obvious," which is a complete defense in Michigan law, and if then you can convince the judge (no jury since you are in small claims) that the pain and suffering deserve compensation at the level you are seeking.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 6/13/2014
Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
Some of these issues have legal significance, others do not. You have to prove that they knew or should have known that the pothole was there. You have to prove that the lighting was poor.You have to prove your injuries. To do this, you need evidence: photos, witnesses, admissions, documents, medical records. Anyone can claim that they have pain or psychological trauma, but you need to be able to prove it in order to succeed. They can allege anything they want, but they have their burden of proof as well, so if you can prove they are lying, well that's what courts are for. Punitive damages are out of the question.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 6/13/2014
    Lombardi Law Firm
    Lombardi Law Firm | Steve Lombardi
    You will need a medical opinion to prove the connection or exacerbation of your pre-existing condition.
    Answer Applies to: Iowa
    Replied: 6/13/2014
    Zitzmann Law, LLC
    Zitzmann Law, LLC | James Zitzmann
    It sounds like you are entitled to sue under Louisiana's Slip and Fall statute, and you can sue those damages related to the incident. However, it must be noted that punitive damages are very rarely available in Louisiana. Whether or not you will prevail in the case depends on whether the condition was unreasonably dangerous and whether the merchant had notice of the condition, among other things.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 6/13/2014
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    Your "injuries" do not warrant a settlement of any significant offer. If you get anything you should feel grateful. Since, you elected to take it to small claim, the judge could rule you get nothing since your injuries did not require any medical treatment. Once there is a ruling, you cannot file another claim. You should have taken the offer.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/13/2014
    James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C.
    James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C. | Jim Hasser
    Yes, you can seek recovery for pain and suffering without asking for medical bills. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 6/13/2014
    Chalat Hatten Koupal & Banker PC
    Chalat Hatten Koupal & Banker PC | Linda Chalat
    Colorado juries are very suspect of "pain and suffering" claims and often award nothing for that element of damages, even in cases with very significant, painful physical injuries. If you are offered anything in settlement, you probably should seriously consider accepting the offer.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/13/2014
    Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
    Punitive damages apply where there is outrageous conduct in the act itself, not how they handle the claim. And it's unfortunately common for insurance co. adjusters to try to minimize claims. That's what they are paid to do. Good luck in Small Claims Court.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/13/2014
    Adler Law Group, LLC
    Adler Law Group, LLC | Lawrence Adler
    You cannot get punitive damages for a personal injury suit. Depending on how the accident occurred you may or may not have a big case. They will claim the pot hole was there to be seen and they are to be expected. You should establish that the dark lighting acted as camouflage.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/13/2014
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