Should You Hire a Slip & Fall Accident Lawyer?
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Information on when you can handle a slip and fall claim on your own and when you should hire an attorney. Learn how hiring a lawyer can improve your financial recovery.
You may be debating whether or not to retain legal representation after suffering injuries in a slip-and-fall incident.
You can sometimes handle an insurance claim independently without needing legal assistance. However, there are other scenarios where the assistance of an attorney is crucial.
Knowing when to defend yourself in court and when to hire an attorney is not always easy.
Fortunately, you can narrow down your options by using a few crucial considerations in slip and fall situations. Consider these considerations when you plan your strategy for claiming damages from an insurance company following a slip and fall.
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ISOLATING WHEN IT’S BEST TO HANDLE A SLIP-AND-FALL CLAIM ON YOUR OWN
Anybody can take care of their slip and fall case. Can they cope with it effectively?
Small injuries sustained from falls typically result in straightforward insurance claims. A favorable resolution could be reached with a few phone calls and exchanging documents or letters.
Getting a lawyer isn’t necessary to settle your slip and fall case for a fair price if the circumstances are simple and it’s obvious who was at fault. You merely need time and the skill to persuade an adjuster of the merits of your claim.
IN SOME CASES, HANDLING THE CLAIM ON YOUR OWN IS PREFERABLE.
- It sounds like you either sprained your ankle or pulled a muscle, which is quite a mild injury.
- You won’t need extensive, continuing, or pricey medical care for your injuries.
- Your injuries from the slip and fall are unrelated to any prior injuries.
- The misbehavior of the responsible party is obvious, or that party accepts it.
- The fall did not leave you with any permanent impairments or disfigurement.
- Your medical bills, accident-related costs, and lost wages will easily prove damages.
FOR INSTANCE, A STRAIGHTFORWARD CASE OF SLIP AND FALL
Linda went to a nearby shoe store on a wet day to do some shopping. The awning on the building’s facade leaked rainwater.
Linda broke three fingers when she slipped and fell on the wet floor as she left the business.
Thankfully, she could avoid surgery and prolonged care for her wounds. Within eight weeks, Linda’s fingers had entirely recovered with minimal pain.
Linda’s injuries were officially acknowledged as the fault of the shoe store.
Considering the simplicity of her case, Linda can probably handle the negotiations for her injury claim on her own. The shoe store has apologized and acknowledged its responsibility for the incident; luckily, her injuries are not too severe.
Linda could retain the services of a slip and fall attorney, albeit doing so is unlikely to increase the compensation she receives. If your attorney cannot improve the value of your claim, you are free to negotiate a settlement on your own.
IT’S HARD WORK TO BE YOUR ADVOCATE.
Self-handling a claim may appear simple at first, but the process can quickly become tedious and involved.
If you intend to advocate for yourself, you should be ready to:
- Time must be devoted to working on your claim.
- Take notes and gather proof to back up your argument.
- Make sure your paperwork is in order.
- Construct a convincing demand letter
- Talk to the insurance company’s claims adjuster and try to reach a fair settlement.
Don’t hesitate to contact a slip and fall attorney for help if it seems you won’t have the time and energy to pursue your claim.
If you choose to handle negotiations with the insurance company on your own, you have the right to consult a lawyer at any moment. Except for the signing of a settlement agreement, nothing is final. You can still hire legal representation at the end of a claim process, even if you didn’t do so from the start.
Numerous claimants retain counsel midway through the claims or negotiating process after filing and pursuing their claims independently.
An insurance adjuster’s refusal to cooperate or attempt to place blame for your injury on you can complicate what was supposed to be a straightforward claim for injuries sustained in a fall.
NEGOTIATION SKILLS ARE A MUST FOR YOU.
Accepting an insurance payout does not necessitate the services of an attorney. If an insurance provider makes you the first offer, take it. Complete and fair payment is not guaranteed.
You’ll need to know the worth of your claim and negotiate to ensure you get a fair payment.
At the outset of your claim, the adjuster will likely offer you a settlement to see whether you’ll take it and be done with the process. The adjuster’s initial settlement offer to you will likely be quite low.
It is common to boost your offer if you know the value of your claim and are willing to bargain. Settlement negotiations often entail rounds of going back and forth before reaching a value that both sides can agree on.
However, while attorneys are accustomed to this back-and-forth, claimants are generally unfamiliar. By familiarizing yourself with industry standards, you should be prepared for a claim adjuster’s negotiation strategies.
WHEN A SLIP AND FALL LAWYER CAN HELP
Not every slip and fall event leads to a quick and uncomplicated insurance payout. A lawyer should handle lawsuits involving serious injuries even if the fault is obvious.
The insurance company would rather not pay out a large claim. The adjuster will pull out all the stops to find an excuse to limit your pay.
Help should be sought if any of the following apply to you:
- The insurance firm claims that you caused the collision.
- The at-fault party or insurance adjuster alleges they lost evidence or destroyed it
- You can’t get the insurance adjuster to respond to your emails or calls
- When: •You feel the insurance company is trying to pressure you into dropping your claim; and
There are circumstances surrounding slip and fall accidents that may work against a victim’s pursuit of compensation. These issues may increase the difficulty of proving your claim and lessen the likelihood of obtaining a satisfactory monetary award for your losses.
Intricate elements may include:
- There were no eyewitnesses or recorded film
- Multiple victims
- The possible presence of more than one guilty party
- Permanent disability that prevents you from working or enjoying life for an extended period
- Insurance, Medicaid, and Medicare liens for unpaid medical bills
- The Accident was a Team Effort
- Your new slip-and-fall injuries are related to • Previous injuries in the same region.
FALL-RELATED MAJOR INJURY; NO EYEWITNESSES
Anne McDonald, 50 at the time, was a visitor to the Noah Webster House Museum in West Hartford, CT, on October 16 of that year. McDonald and her pals were invited to the museum’s attic by the director.
The stairway leading to the attic was old, dark, and unprotected. After falling down the steps, McDonald hit her head on the hard wooden floor, causing her to suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and break her shoulder.
McDonald had a traumatic brain injury and had no recollection of the fall, which complicated her damage claim. This case was difficult for even the most seasoned lawyers to handle because of her injuries and her claim details.
However, her attorney established the danger of the attic stairs by piecing together the testimonies of those with her in the museum.
The lawyer was also successful in having McDonald examined by a top expert in brain injury medicine in the country. The testimony of the experts corroborated the scope and severity of McDonald’s slip and fall injuries.
In July 2020, her lawyer settled with the museum for the full $2 million covered by their insurance.
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN HIRING A LAWYER FOR A FALL ON ICE OR SNOW
Most personal injury attorneys specializing in slip and fall cases provide free initial consultations. You can consult with as many attorneys as you choose before hiring. Nothing forces you to hire any of them. If you decide to retain legal representation, choose a lawyer who is a good fit for your case.
You should anticipate the following from a competent slip and fall lawyer:
CASH FOR IMMEDIATE CASE COSTS
A good slip and fall attorney will be able to put up their own money to help you win your case. Expert testimony is typically crucial to the outcome of catastrophic injury lawsuits, but experts can be costly.
Depending on the specifics of your case, you may need to pay for the following types of legal representation:
Expenses incurred during the discovery process, such as the price of obtaining medical documents and the cost of reviewing existing ones
- Compensation for Testifying Experts
- Providers ofAccident Reconstruction Services
- Depositions Travel Expenses
- Expenses related to deposits
- The Cost of Filing Legal Paperwork
KNOWLEDGE AND PRACTICE IN THE TECHNICAL AND PRACTICAL ASPECTS OF THE FIELD
Attorneys specializing in personal injury cases have the training and expertise to handle complex legal matters, such as filing claims and negotiating settlements. It is not uncommon for them to be able to settle a case for maximum compensation for an injured party without having to go to trial.
Your lawyer knows the ins and outs of the local justice system, from the county clerk to the judicial temperament. Injury lawyers learn the ins and outs of the various insurance providers so they can best represent their clients.
If your attorney has dealt with insurance companies, they will know what to expect and how to negotiate a settlement for your slip and fall injuries.
Any claims that can’t be backed up by evidence won’t be settled in your favour. Your attorney specializing in slip and fall cases will know what kind of proof you need to present to establish negligence. An attorney can access resources you would not and could not obtain on your own.
Your lawyer may, for instance, request store security footage from the day you fell, as well as copies of incident reports from the previous year. A court order would be required before the store hand over such evidence.
LOCATING POTENTIAL INCOME SOURCES
More than one insurance policy may cover your slip and fall injury. However, without legal training, locating such policies can be difficult.
Your lawyer has the resources and experience to investigate all potential avenues of financial relief that may apply to your situation. Your settlement or court judgment may be increased if you successfully locate additional funding sources.
INVOKING RESPONSIBILITY FROM ALL PARTIES
Multiple parties may share legal responsibility for your harm. To maximize compensation, personal injury attorneys do several things, one of which is pinpointing all possible fault sources.
Suppose you were injured in a hair salon when an independent contractor hairstylist spilt shampoo on the floor. An employee witnessed the incident but did nothing to clean it up or alert management.
There are multiple potential defendants here, including the salon owners, the contractor, and even the employee. The more responsible parties there is, the higher your potential compensation for harm.
OPTIMIZATION OF CLAIM VALUE
When an attorney represents a slip and falls victim, the insurance company takes them more seriously. When you have a competent attorney, they realize they have little chance of convincing you to accept a low settlement offer.
In addition, when a lawyer is engaged, insurance adjusters often enhance their first settlement offers. Adjusters don’t want to risk a personal injury case that may hurt their employers’ credibility.
THE OPPOSITE OF AN EXTREME VIEW
It’s normal to go through a range of emotions after suffering an injury in an accident. Frustration, pain, anxiety, and anger are all possible reactions. You may find it difficult to negotiate your insurance claim in the face of such intense emotions.
An attorney who specializes in personal injury law may be able to look at your accident claim with more objectivity. Your lawyer will evaluate and present the facts of the case objectively and without bias.
DEALING WITH THE INSURANCE ADJUSTER ON YOUR BEHALF
Once you have retained legal counsel, the insurance provider and its adjuster are prohibited from contacting you directly. They can still inquire about you and ask questions, but they must do so through your attorney. Your attorney should be consulted and present throughout any such conversations.
There will be fewer nerves for many people filing claims if they never have to talk to an adjuster. This prevents you from making any statements that could undermine your case.
PROMPT LEGAL ACTION
A fundamental aspect of self-representation is familiarity with applicable time limits (statutes of limitations). There is a time limit, or statute of limitations, in every state for people who have been hurt and want to sue the party responsible. In the state of California, the time restriction for filing a personal injury claim is two years from the date of the accident that caused the injury.
Each injured individual or their lawyer is responsible for keeping track of the application deadline. In no event will an insurance provider inform or remind a claimant of this fact.
If you don’t file your claim by then, it doesn’t matter how terrible your injuries were; you lose your chance at financial recovery.
Lawyers specializing in personal injury lawsuits understand the time limits that may apply to their client’s claims. They take every precaution to avoid missing this legal deadline.
CONSIDERING YOUR OPTIONS
You may now decide whether you want to handle your personal injury claim, as you have been provided with all the information you need.
Consider the following questions as you go over your slip and fall claim:
- Do you have a complicated claim?
- If you fell, did you hurt yourself badly?
- Do you despise dealing with insurance companies and/or negotiations?
If your response to any of these questions is “yes,” you should seek the counsel of a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. If they say “no,” you can probably pursue your claim independently.
If you’re going it alone, you should study effective negotiating methods. If you’ve been hurt in a slip and fall accident, consider this article as a resource to help you take charge of your recovery and get the best possible outcome.
Remember that most personal injury lawyers will provide a free initial consultation if you wish to discuss your case with them. Since most attorneys only accept cases on contingency, you won’t owe them any money unless they win you money for your injuries.
Imagine your attorney for personal injuries successfully settling your case or obtaining a monetary award for you in court. If that’s the case, they’ll get a cut of your earnings as payment for their work.
Don’t wait to discover out what a competent slip and fall attorney can do for you, whether you choose to represent yourself or hire someone else.
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