A slip and fall is one of the most common reasons for a personal injury lawsuit in the United States, with millions of these accidents leading to emergency visits each year. If there is resistance from a company or insurance provider to award damages after a slip and fall, you may have to take the matter to court.
There are a number of mistakes that can quickly add up to ruin your odds of a favorable settlement. Educating yourself on the best way to proceed is critical to your success and financial recovery from your accident.
1. Disregarding proper channels
The first big mistake that people make after a slip and fall is to fail to notify the proper person. You will need to let the manager of the property, or at the very least an employee, know about the incident. An incident report is an important part of the paper trail needed to file and win a lawsuit.
To reach a case settlement for slip and fall injury, the company you are suing needs to be aware and have a chance to make things right. There is a chance you may be offered a settlement swiftly after this step, but you should not agree to anything or sign anything yet. Do not give a statement to the staff or insurance provider until you have gathered your thoughts or even consulted an attorney.
2. No medical treatment
After the official incident report, the next most important piece of evidence for your paper trail will be a medical record. Even if you feel mostly fine or think your injury will heal on its own with rest, you need to receive medical care the same day as your slip and fall. The sooner, the better; a delay in medical treatment will give insurance companies an opening to say your injury is not severe.
3. No evidence
“It’s not what you know, it’s what you can prove.” This quote from Training Day applies to personal injury suits as well since a lawsuit without any evidence does not have a chance of reaching a settlement.
There is typically a wide variety of evidence, and proof you can gather that will back up any claims you want to make in court. You should keep a copy of any relevant paperwork like the incident report, medical report, and any communication with the property manager or company. You should record every conversation and make records of texts or emails between you and them.
Evidence gathered at the scene of the slip and fall is also crucial to your case. Photographs of the scene, security camera footage, and contact information for any witnesses will all be helpful as your attorney assembles a strong argument. Other physical evidence includes the clothes and shoes you were wearing during the accident. If you toss the shoes, the defendant could simply say that was the source of your fall.
4. Delayed actions
Someone who has been injured in a slip and fall might be hurt or unable to do much beyond rest and heal, but the clock is ticking. Not only will a delay communicate a weak case to the other side, but there is also a statute of limitations for filing a claim. In most states, the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim is between one and four years.
Waiting to get legal counsel can also be costly. Successful plaintiffs get an attorney involved as soon as possible. Even making a statement to the insurance provider or property manager without carefully choosing your words can tank a claim.
Make the right moves
If you have already made one or more of these simple mistakes, that does not mean your lawsuit is impossible. Seek legal counsel from an experienced personal injury attorney. They can advise you on how to proceed. With the right people on your team and as much evidence as you can gather, there is still hope that you can be fairly compensated for your slip and fall accident.
About Irma Dengler
With a BA in communications and paralegal experience, Irma Dengler decided to combine her skills. In the past, when she was involved in proceedings of her own, she witnessed firsthand the weight of legal language.
A convoluted terminology can easily disarm the average American. Therefore, she set off to empower her readers by making the law more accessible to them.