Avoid These Mistakes after your Slip & Fall Injury
Colorado Springs Slip & Fall Law Firm
Premises Liability > Claims > Mistakes to Avoid
Your slip and fall injury claim should result in fair compensation. Avoid these common mistakes when negotiating a slip and fall settlement.
In the United States, injuries caused by slip and fall incidents cost an annual average of $13–$14 million.
When parties agree to settle a slip and fall claim, insurance companies pay injured parties a portion of this sum. However, insurance adjusters are typically not overly eager to settle. To safeguard the company’s financial line, they will stop at nothing to find a way to reduce or completely reject any claims that may come their way.
Assuming you had only minor injuries in the slip and fall incident, you may wish to handle the negotiations of your claim.
Making a fool of yourself in negotiations can be quite expensive. The following are some of the pitfalls you may encounter when dealing with a claims adjuster that we will go over now.
NO FEE UNLESS WE WIN
Communications Failures with Serious Consequences
One of the most common places for errors to occur during slip and fall settlement talks is in your communications with an insurance company.
The best approach to avoid making any blunders when speaking with an adjuster is to keep your cool and keep conversations short. Keep your arguments concise and focused on the evidence.
Mistake #1 :Speaking without Thinking
You may be sure that your insurance will examine your every word in search of a way to deny your claim and cut costs. Due to the constant listening in, you must watch every word you utter.
Never let your wrath or irritation show in your words. Things the adjuster says may irritate you, but you must remain calm and collected while communicating with them.
The safest approach to avoid being caught in a trap is to pause and consider your words before you speak. When asked how you’re doing, responding with “fine” is common mistake adjusters make. Saying you’re alright after a slip and fall will make the adjuster think you’re trying to get more money out of them than you deserve.
If you’re ever requested to deliver a recorded statement, tread carefully. Do not agree to answer the adjuster’s inquiries if they could lead to answers that would contradict the statement you just gave.
If an adjuster poses a question to you, stop what you’re doing and try to grasp its meaning. In case you don’t understand, just ask them to restate the question differently.
It’s important to answer specifically at all times. Maintain brevity and clarity at all costs. Be careful not to give too much information or advice. The less you say, the better. It’s fine to respond with “I don’t know” or “I’ll have to check my records and get back to you.”
Mistake #2: Admitting Fault
When filing a claim for damages after a slip and fall accident, insurance companies will try to get you to admit that the accident was in some way your fault. If you were at fault for your injury, their client would not be responsible.
In addition, under comparative negligence laws, a state’s liability for an accident’s damages can be lowered significantly, or even eliminated, if the victim was even partially at fault.
It’s important to know the difference between comparative and contributory negligence.
For example, if a slip and fall victim was even one percent at fault, they would receive no compensation under the law in a state that strictly enforces the doctrine of pure contributory negligence. The pure comparative negligence system is only in place in four states and the District of Columbia.
Thankfully, most countries have adopted some form of modified comparative negligence. In most cases, these statutes diminish an individual’s compensation by their degree of culpability in an accident.
If an individual was 25% at fault for a fall, for instance, their potential compensation amount would be lowered by 25%.
The adjuster must not get any impression that you had anything to do with causing your injury.
It’s best to refrain from using phrases like
- I wasn’t paying attention to my surroundings.
- “My shoes have rather worn soles,” I said.
- “These days I’m such a klutz”
If the insurance adjuster tries to get you to admit fault for your injuries, refuse the bait.
Mistake #3: it’s inappropriate to bring up past injuries.
To clarify, a “pre-existing injury” is an injury that existed before the slip and fall incident. The affected area is often the same as the one hurt in the initial fall.
An adjuster will likely utilize a victim’s admission of a previous injury to argue that the current injury is only a worsening of the original one. In light of that knowledge, the adjuster will lower their compensation offers.
Talk to your doctor about any previous injuries you may have had and how they may relate to your slip and fall injuries.
You should ask your doctor to put your talk into writing and provide a copy to your insurance company whenever possible.
Injuries to preexisting conditions are common after a slip and fall.
- An injury to the knees
- Wrist sprains
- Injuries to the back
- Ache and twisting of the neck
- The hip injury
Bad Estimations of Damages
Slip and fall victims should have a firm grasp on the value of their claim before entering into negotiations with insurance. The victim’s desired sum to resolve the claim is what we call “worth.”
To determine how much your slip and fall claim is worth, you’ll need to collect documentation of your damages. Verify that the sum of your costs equals the sum you are requesting as payment.
Mistake #4:Not Giving a Claim Its Due
Once again, adjusters will try to settle for a lower amount than your claim is worth. Usually, their first settlement offer is meager.
Don’t let somebody put you down to the point where you accept far less than you deserve.
Keep in mind the possible compensation for an injury claim:
- Insurance premiums
- Incurred Medical Costs in the Future
- Expenses that can’t be recovered
- Foreseen Income Losses
- The cost that comes out of your pocket.
- Pain and suffering are examples of the kind of damages that can’t be quantified in monetary terms.
If you have or will ever go through any of these, demand that you be compensated for your losses in full.
Your claim may be worth more than the adjuster is giving it credit for, so don’t get angry if you have to defend your stance with numbers.
Get your medical expenses and wage loss statement together before your next discussion so that you can prove your case.
Mistake #5:Overestimating the value of a claim
Don’t be tempted to inflate the worth of your claim. Victims of accidents should seek compensation, but they should only do so if they have a legitimate case.
Even though it’s humiliating to fall in front of other people, asking a million dollars when you only have a few bruises won’t go you very far.
It’s possible that a claimant’s credibility would be damaged by using overstated numbers. Furthermore, these factors can cause a claim to be rejected entirely.
People who suffer injuries as a result of a slip and fall should be compensated by insurance companies. To be made whole again implies being restored to the same or a similar state as before the incident.
Insurers, however, have no responsibility to assist accident victims in turning a profit.
Credibility in Business Deals
In the insurance industry, adjusters are employed by insurers. Since adjusters receive compensation from these businesses, they have a vested interest in ensuring their continued success.
Adjusters that are dedicated to protecting their company’s interests will not have your best interests in mind.
Mistake #6:Conceiving the Adjuster to be Trustworthy
Slip and fall injuries are not something that insurance companies will gladly pay out for.
It is a common misconception among victims of accidents that their insurance adjuster has their best interests at heart. Be wary of anyone making any sort of assurance. An adjuster is not your buddy, no matter how “nice” or compassionate they may seem.
Even if you don’t trust your insurer completely, that doesn’t give you the right to behave poorly. The adjuster’s actions are most likely consistent with their carrying out their duties.
Always make an effort to be cautious. Listen carefully for the underlying meaning of questions and statements.
Don’t become too cozy with the insurance company rep. If you’re too chill, the adjuster will have an easier time coaxing you into saying things that can be used against you. Don’t bring up personal issues like money or family. The adjuster will likely wait you out if they believe you are desperate for a settlement and are unwilling to make any further concessions.
Mistake #7:Overstating Losses
You shouldn’t put your faith in adjusters, but you do need them to have faith in you. For injured people to receive compensation, the insurance company must accept their version of events.
Insurance companies are not places to tell fibs. Claims that are based on lies may be rejected. The likelihood of a fair agreement being reached could be diminished if one of the parties was unreliable. The wounded party’s credibility as a witness can increase the adjuster’s willingness to settle for a higher amount.
As an additional precaution, injured parties should never embellish their stories or injuries. It’s just as effective to exaggerate as it is to lie. This causes a loss of confidence and raises the likelihood of a low settlement.
Victims of accidents are expected to give accurate accounts of their wounds. To demonstrate the extent of your injuries to an adjuster, you can obtain evidence from sources including hospital records and police reports.
Lacking Necessary Proof
It is up to the injured party to prove that the property owner was responsible for their fall and subsequent medical expenses.
In most cases, the claiming party must prove that the owner:
1) Owed you and others a duty of care to take reasonable precautions to keep you safe from harm.
(2) Failed to take reasonable efforts to ensure the safety of others or contributed to a harmful situation.
(3) The violation you allege caused your injuries
The injured party also has the burden of proving their injuries and financial damages.
Mistake #8: There Is No Proof of a Dangerous Situation
There is no absolute duty of safety that rests on the shoulders of the facility owner or manager towards their patrons. It is, nevertheless, their responsibility to safeguard guests from any potentially hazardous conditions or items.
Those who have fallen due to a slippery surface must prove:
- The owner of the property was aware of a hazardous situation
- Despite repeated requests, the owner has made no effort to resolve the problem.
Many times, those who have been hurt in a fall on someone else’s property may claim that the owner is responsible, but they will offer no evidence to back up their claim. If an adjuster sees any of these red flags, they are more likely to refuse payment.
Victims of accidents have the burden of proving that the owner knew about a hazardous situation but did nothing to remedy it.
Some examples of such evidence are:
- CCTV footage
- Incidence Reports
- Visuals from the scene of the accident
- Statements from Eyewitnesses
Commonly hazardous situations include:
- Stairs, railings, and decking that are in disrepair
- Sidewalks and parking lots that are broken, dark, or slippery
- Inconveniently cluttered communal spaces
- Problems with the lack of working smoke detectors and/or batteries
- There is wet flooring.
Mistake #9: There Is No Physical Proof of Damages or Injuries
A successful claim requires proof of both the obligation owed to you by the property owner and the fact that you were injured as a result of the unsafe state.
Examples of things that can serve as proof of your injury are:
- Document your injuries with photographs and/or video.
- Records of medical care received
- Worn-out or shattered shoes
- Damaged or bloody threads
- Broken eyewear or other jewelry
When it comes to medical documentation, victims want to make sure they have access to their whole medical history from every provider. Collect records from healthcare providers, including hospitals, ERs, ambulance services, and therapy centers.
Once you have proof of your injuries, you must then explain how those injuries led to actual monetary losses.
Some of the potential expenses associated with a slip and fall are as follows:
- Insurance premiums
- Incurred Medical Costs in the Future
- Expenses that can’t be recovered
Economic damages are another name for actual costs. The monetary value of economic losses is quantified.
In addition to monetary losses, non-economic harm is common in slip and fall lawsuits. These types of damages are notoriously difficult to show because their dollar amount is sometimes unknown.
Typical examples of non-economic losses include:
- Experiencing distress
- Separation of the couple
- A decrease in happiness
- Conditions resulting in incapacity or a deformity
- Impairment of body function
You can prove your losses by demonstrating how your injuries have altered your life.
To demonstrate significance, keep a log of any injuries you suffer. Victims of accidents can keep a journal in which they record their thoughts and feelings after the incident, as well as details about their physical recovery and the things they couldn’t do because of their injuries.
Relevant Judicial Factors
Recovering from minor injuries sustained in a slip and fall incident often can handle negotiations with insurance adjusters on their own. Sprained ankles and wrists are examples of mild injuries.
The wounded party will tally up their medical bills, missed wages, and a small sum to account for their pain and suffering when deciding how much money they need in a settlement.
However, not every instance involving a slip and fall is simple and uncomplicated. When people fall, they sometimes get expensive injuries.
The following are examples of some of the more severe forms of injury:
- Injuries to the brain due to trauma
- Constant Back Pain
- Herniated Discs
- Fractures of the Spine
- Fractures of the hip
- Tears in the Rotator Cuff
- Accidental Knee Damage
You should seek the counsel of a skilled slip and fall injury attorney if you sustained serious injuries in such an incident.
Mistake #10: Not Getting Legal Counsel
In the event of a major injury, a complex combination of circumstances, or substantial damages, victims of slip and fall accidents are advised to seek legal counsel.
Complex legal issues, such as comparative negligence and causation, may arise in lawsuits involving severe injuries. Unfortunately, it is common practice for insurance companies to offer less than full compensation to unrepresented claimants.
The video from a store’s surveillance cameras, incident reports, and expert witness testimony are all pieces of evidence that would be difficult for you to obtain without an attorney’s help.
When seeking compensation for injuries sustained in a fall, plaintiffs may consult attorneys who specialize in slip and
- Achieving Access to Health Information
- Evidence-gathering that you simply could not do on your own
- Communication with Witnesses
- Determining what was lost and how much it cost
- Having discussions with the insurance claims adjuster
No Money Upfront
It’s a plus that hiring an attorney typically doesn’t require you to pay anything up ahead. Reputable slip and fall lawyers provide free consultations.
Free implies it won’t cost you a thing to find out your legal choices.
An attorney will take your case on a contingency fee basis. Thus, they won’t get paid unless you do. Once they have successfully bargained for adequate recompense on your behalf, they will be paid a predetermined fee.
If you’ve been hurt and you think it will cost a lot to get a lawyer, you’re wrong. A lawyer can have the opposite impact. Once an attorney gets involved, some claims amazingly quickly settle.
Don’t make any calamitous blunders. Contact a lawyer right away to discuss filing a claim for your slip and fall injuries.
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