Businesses will often make promises following an accident with no intention of keeping them. There can be additional claims for this. The problem is proving the promises were made.
Broken Promise Following an Accident at a Business Far Too Common
A promise is not really a promise in many instances where accidents occur on at business establishment. In fact, some pretty prominent businesses have been guilty of gratuitous, insincere and flat fraudulent practices in dealing with injured customers.
Typically what happens in these situations is that the business will console the injured customer. Most businesses are sincerely concerned about the customer and want to make things right. However, far too many are completely insincere. What they are trying to do is to pacify the customer and usher them out of the business as quickly as possible with promises to take care of issue if the customer will just call them after they have seen a doctor. Yes, you guessed it, the big promise is that the business will pay for the medical costs.
What they mean by this is that they will be glad to pay so long as you get a lawyer that forces them to pay. In most cases, these folks will not pay willingly.
Recourse for Broken Promise to Pay Medical Expense
The simple fact is that in these cases, the only recourse is often to get an attorney to force the business to pay. And then of course, the business is shocked and dismayed that anyone would dare get a lawyer involved.
In case of such broken promises in New Mexico, there is law that allows the injured customer to seek punitive damages. Punitive damages can and often are much higher than the compensatory damages (injuries, medical costs, lost wages…). Punitive damages are awarded to punish the business for dishonesty and to discourage future such conduct by other businesses. They are a very valuable tool in deterring wrongful conduct.
Problems of Proof of Broken Promises
Sadly, proving the promise was made can be somewhat difficult in case of deceitful business owners. It would be rare that a business would document the promise being made and rarer still that the business would write a letter with such a promise.
Instead, the injured customer must have witnesses or other independent proof that the promises were made. This is often unavailable. In cases such as these, it comes down to a good old fashioned he said, she said.
This can take some work on the part of the personal injury attorney handling the case. These obstacles are difficult but can often be addressed in a way that results in settlement versus trial where it can be a veritable crap shoot with a jury.