How Do I File a Claim for a Slip & Fall Accident?
The Best Premises Liability Injury Law Firm
Get the compensation you deserve. Here’s 7 essential steps to filing a slip and fall injury claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
In the United States, falls are the biggest cause of emergency room visits, accounting for about 8 million yearly visits or 21.3% of all ER visits.
Due to the common occurrence of slip and fall accidents, victims need to know that they can seek financial restitution by filing a claim with the insurance company of the negligent property owner.
The insurance claim procedure can seem complicated and overwhelming if you have never filed a personal injury claim before. Here, we outline the seven main processes of filing a claim for slip and fall insurance to give you a better sense of the broad picture.
Come along as we break down the entire process, beginning with the accident site and ending with the settlement.
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1. Act Immediately
There is a common misconception among claimants that the clock starts ticking on their slip and fall claim only when they submit their claim to their insurance provider.
You must take steps to safeguard yourself immediately following a slip and fall mishap. Getting yourself off the floor and skipping town without telling anyone you were hurt is a terrible idea.
Get Help From The Doctors
If you’ve been injured and an ambulance wasn’t dispatched to the scene of the accident, you should still see a doctor as soon as possible.
Even if you don’t feel any pain or see any other obvious signs of injury immediately, you should still see a doctor. The victims of accidents may suffer from a slip and fall injury and not even realize it.
A record of how your injuries are related to the slip and fall event can be created by detailing the occurrence to your medical practitioner, including the when, where, and how it occurred.
Please keep visiting your doctor until he or she tells you to stop. You should also pay close attention to the directions given to you by your doctor or another medical professional.
A claims adjuster is more likely to deny or provide a low settlement if you stop getting treatment or disregard medical advice.
You should expect to get numerous medical bills from various providers after you finally start getting treatment. You should save these receipts since they will be crucial pieces of evidence in your claim for damages after a slip and fall. Your claim will most likely be denied if you cannot provide evidence of bodily harm.
Collecting Proof of Wrongdoing
The onus of proof for negligence in a slip-and-fall case falls on the injured party. You must prove that another party was to blame for your slip and fall accident and injuries.
For this position to go well, you’ll need to be able to back up your claims with solid evidence. You will need to provide proof of your injuries and that the property owner was at fault for the slip and fall.
After a slip and fall, it’s important to quickly collect as much evidence as possible. If your injuries allow you, go back to the scene of the accident right away.
File an Incident Report
By filing an incident report, you can prove that you fell on someone else’s property. Following your fall, you should fill out this report as soon as possible.
If a customer slips and falls on a company’s premises, the business will likely provide the customer with an incident report. Typically, these reports take the form of generic paperwork that the victim of an accident fills out by answering a few questions and providing a summary of the events that transpired.
Companies without a set report template should encourage employees to write their own. Send the original to the property owner or manager and keep a copy yourself.
2. Notify those involved in an injury claim through a letter
You must inform the negligent party and the negligent party’s insurance company immediately following your slip and fall. To accomplish this, you must write letters to all involved parties.
When writing your letters of notice, be sure to mention the time and date of your injury and your name and contact details.
Insisting on the Need for Archiving Evidence
Include a request for the at-fault party’s insurance company’s contact information with your letter. You will also want the party at blame to keep any evidence they have of your slip and fall mishap, such as a security film.
You should still notify the negligent party of your intention to claim damages even if you have already sent an incident report to them.
3. Prepare the Accident Report
After formally submitting a claim, you should build a claim file to keep all the paperwork and proof you gathered in one place.
You could benefit from investing in an accordion folder, as they typically have several inside dividers. Also, three-ring binders can be useful.
Separate the various parts of your accident claim and slip and fall them into their respective categories in a folder or binder. Insurance paperwork, medical records, pictures, and other related documents should be designated.
Get yourself a calendar and start keeping track of important dates.
In addition to the paperwork, you’ll be compiling for your claim, keeping a separate calendar for the proceedings will be good. Mark on your schedule when you will see doctors and attend rehabilitation sessions for your injuries.
Keep track of the dates you and the adjuster agreed to communicate. Use a calendar to remind the adjuster of their obligations.
To keep track of when you and your slip and fall attorney spoke, write down the times and dates.
4. Determine the Worth of Your Slip-and-Fall Case
It is not enough for claimants to wait for the adjuster to determine a reasonable settlement amount. At settlement negotiations, you should be ready to state the dollar figure representing a reasonable settlement offer from the insurance company.
Wait until you have fully recovered and gathered all your bills if you are conducting your injury claim. The total of your economic and non-economic damages is what your claim is worth.
Count the Money You Lost
To determine the worth of your claim, you must first tally up the monetary losses you’ve sustained. The victim’s economic damages are the monetary losses they experienced due to the injury.
Economic damages in a slip and fall case include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Replacement cost for broken glasses or other property
Bills, receipts, and pay stubs are all acceptable evidence of economic damages. Take into account the full amount healthcare providers charge patients.
Non-Monetary Losses and Their Value
The common term for non-financial losses is “pain and suffering.”
Non-economic losses are not compensated for and have no monetary worth. However, a reasonable estimate of non-economic damages can be arrived at by adding up all of your medical expenditures and other economic losses and multiplying the total by one or two to account for your pain and suffering.
In most cases, insurance companies will settle for moderate to minor injuries.
5. Demand payment from the insurer by writing a letter.
A settlement demand letter is what you’ll send to the insurance company when you’re ready to begin negotiations.
Demand Letter Components
A demand letter is a formal written request for financial compensation from an insurance company detailing the circumstances of your injury and why the property owner should be held liable for your suffering.
Your demand letter will accompany copies of relevant bills, receipts, and a recent pay stub.
In addition to the witness testimony and images, the court may also request a copy of the necessary medical records.
6. bargain with the adjuster.
As soon as the claims adjuster receives your demand letter, you should expect settlement negotiations to begin.
Getting Ready for the Negotiation Process
Before speaking with the adjuster and talking numbers, it’s a good idea to plan your negotiation strategy. Advance preparation can lead to a higher payout from the insurance company.
Adjuster are trained to find reasons to reduce or deny injury claims. For example, the adjuster might try to shift some of the blame on you, or argue that your injuries are from a pre-existing condition.
When you’re prepared to deal with the adjuster’s negotiating style and tactics, they won’t be able to take advantage of you.
Negotiating slip and fall hard costs should be fairly straightforward, so long as your medical treatments was reasonable and necessary, and you can justify the amount of time you missed work.
Although the amount you receive for pain and suffering may be harder to quantify than the money you lose, it is still within your power to negotiate if you know how to present your case to the adjuster.
When Claim Negotiations Fail
Expert negotiators know that to reach an acceptable solution for all parties, there must be some give and take. However, negotiations for injury claims occasionally sputter or entirely break down.
If claims talks fail, it is useful to know that other possibilities exist. Depending on the value of your damages, you may choose between filing a claim in small claims court and filing a full-fledged lawsuit.
A qualified injury attorney should always be consulted when a claim involves significant money or legal complexity. Unrepresented claimants often receive unfairly low settlement offers from insurance firms.
You need not wait till negotiations have stalled. Consult an attorney if an insurance adjuster is unreasonable or you’re having trouble proving that a property owner was at fault.
Please feel free to discuss your options with a personal injury lawyer before agreeing to any settlement offers. Most lawyers will meet with you for free and accept cases on a contingency basis. You will not have to pay your lawyer anything until they successfully resolve your claim or win your case in court, as with a contingency fee agreement.
7. Sign the Final Agreement
When you think you’ve reached a reasonable settlement with the insurance company, you should have it confirmed in writing soon.
Write up an email or letter to the adjuster outlining the terms of the deal you struck. Include the date of your agreement in your confirmation.
You should include the following information:
- The settlement amount
- The nature of the injuries or damages that the settlement will compensate for
- The date you may expect to receive settlement papers and money from the firm.
Just when am I going to get my settlement check?
It’s reasonable that you’d like to settle the slip-and-fall case and put it in the past. There is probably a good reason why you haven’t received your settlement cheque yet.
The ultimate payment may be delayed if medical liens are placed against your settlement. In most cases, liens must be satisfied before the remaining cash can be distributed to the claimant.
Do not hesitate to contact your lawyer if you have one. Your legal counsel will update you on the situation.
Most insurance companies won’t issue a check if a claim is settled without legal representation unless and until a signed release and settlement agreement is returned. Wait a week or two after returning the signed agreement before contacting the adjuster. If they say, it was sent, press for proof of shipment.
Consistently checking in with the adjuster is recommended. After 30 days, you may want to talk to an attorney or file a complaint with the insurance regulator in your state.
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