Don't assume that you cannot be compensated because 'it's your fault'

When an injury occurs, many people blame themselves or assume that their injured family member was fault. This is natural…and sometimes you or a loved one really is partly at fault. But you should never assume that this means you can't be compensated for your loss. Only an attorney can thoroughly investigate a case and determine if the person who appears to be at fault is entirely to blame.

For instance, some years ago a student in Boston died after he fell down a set of stairs at a bar. The student had been drinking heavily, and after his death his alcohol level was found to be more than twice the legal limit.

No one saw how the student fell. But you might naturally assume that the accident was his fault.

Only an attorney can thoroughly investigate an accident and determine if the person who appears to be at fault is entirely to blame.

However, attorneys investigated and found that the accident might very well not have been his fault. It turned out that the stairway violated the building code. It was narrow and steep, wasn't properly lit, and didn't have railings. What's more, it was hidden at the top by dark vinyl strips rather than a proper door, so it wasn't obvious that there were stairs there at all. The student could easily have leaned against the strips and fallen.

A kitchen manager at the bar was interviewed and revealed that she had fallen down the steps herself in exactly the same way, and had seen a liquor company representative fall down them as well.

A judge determined that the bar owners hadn't obtained a building permit for the stairs, and had avoided having them checked by a building inspector for many years.

As a result, the judge found that the bar was responsible for the student's death, and awarded compensation to his family.