By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A man entering Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia for a scheduled appointment tripped and fell on his way in the door, causing injury. One wonders how he explained to the person doing the intake why he was there. He sued, and a jury awarded over $350,000. Which makes many people consider if they can find themselves a slippery or uneven floor somewhere. Because there are lots of people who think that they might win the lawsuit lottery.

But, in order to file a lawsuit, it’s not enough to show that you got hurt, you have to show that the other party was negligent. So while a retail store or other establishment is obligated to make the place safe, you have to show that a reasonably prudent person behaving as you did would be hurt by their negligent action (like not cleaning up a slippery floor or in the hospital’s case, not fixing an uneven sidewalk).

So if you, for example, decide to reach for something on the top shelf by standing in your cart to get it, they’ll probably show that you – and not they – were negligent. If you spill something on the floor on purpose to slip on it, they will likely find that you acted fraudulently and they’ll sue you. So the best you can do is know that the law is there to protect you – and also that it’s your duty to protect yourself – and also that there are good doctors close by.