You might be able to receive compensation for slip-and-fall accident injuries from the property owner or their insurance company without filing a lawsuit. However, sometimes bringing a lawsuit is the only way to get the other side to take you seriously, so you get the compensation you deserve. After suffering slip-and-fall accident injuries, it’s best to consult with an attorney who can advise you on the best course of action and help you get paid for your injuries.
Until you have the opportunity to consult with a personal injury lawyer, this guide answers questions about what happens in the aftermath of a slip-and-fall accident and at what point your attorney might encourage you to file a lawsuit to ensure you get paid.
What to Expect When You Meet with a Slip-and-Fall Attorney
Even though you may not need to bring a lawsuit against a negligent property owner to get paid for your slip-and-fall accident injuries, it’s in your best interest to let an attorney review your case and guide you on your next steps. The attorney you meet with will ask you for as many details as you can provide about the slip-and-fall accident and your injuries, including, but not limited to:
- The events that led up to your accident
- Information about the property, property owner, and their insurance company
- Any hazards that led to the accident
- What types of injuries you suffered
- How your injuries have impacted your life
Why does a Lawyer Need to Investigate a Slip-and-Fall Accident?
Lawyers gather information to support your insurance claim and serve as leverage to negotiate a settlement. Property owners have an incentive to get rid of any evidence as soon as possible, so letting your lawyer take swift action can ensure you have the evidence you need.
Depending on the situation, police might have come to the scene of your slip-and-fall accident and filled out a report. This is typically only likely when the slip-and-fall occurred because of criminal activity. Severe injuries that require an ambulance sometimes also mean police will come to investigate. However, it’s more likely you reported the fall to the manager or property owner afterward.
If you left the scene of your slip-and-fall via ambulance, you might have told the manager about the fall later on. If you haven’t communicated with the property owner, it’s best to let your attorney report the accident to them as soon as possible. They can request video surveillance footage and speak with any eyewitnesses before it all disappears.
Why Should an Injured Person File an Insurance Claim Before a Lawsuit?
Both sides have an incentive to avoid filing a lawsuit and going to trial. Litigation is costly, and most personal injury lawsuits settle out of court, so avoiding filing a lawsuit keeps costs down for everyone involved.
Your attorney will file a claim with the property owner/manager or with their insurance company. They will provide the other side with proof of your injuries, the reasons why the property owner is responsible for damages, and a demand for payment of damages related to your injuries. This typically involves at least two but likely more rounds of negotiations to reach a fair settlement.
What Happens if an Attorney Cannot Settle a Slip-and-Fall Accident?
When settlement negotiations fail, the next step is to file a lawsuit against the property owner and/or their insurance provider. Property owners have a duty towards visitors to maintain a safe environment and warn customers of any known dangers. They sometimes vehemently dispute liability, downplay injuries, or shift the blame to the victim.
Examples of arguments the other side might use to avoid financial liability for a slip-and-fall accident include:
- The claimant was walking in a prohibited area.
- The claimant intentionally fell to sue for money.
- The claimant was wearing inappropriate footwear.
- The claimant was distracted because they were talking to someone or on their cell phone.
- The claimant ignored signs that warned them of the slippery area.
- The claimant suffered injuries at a previous time or place.
- The claimant’s injuries are not as severe as they have presented.
When the other side refuses to negotiate a settlement or the insurance company outwardly denies a claim, you have no other choice than to file a lawsuit if you want to get paid for your slip-and-fall accident injuries.
Do Claimants Have to Go to Court if They File a Lawsuit After a Slip-and-Fall Accident?
No, slip-and-fall accident victims do not always have to go to court when they file a lawsuit. Sometimes filing a lawsuit motivates the other side to reconsider settlement options. Even with the threat of a lawsuit, the insurance provider still wants to avoid costly litigation.
However, homeowners’ insurance and business insurance providers do not like to make large payouts. If they think they have grounds to fight the lawsuit, they might opt for litigation. Slip-and-fall accident victims should always be prepared for the possibility to go to court, even if litigation is unlikely.
Contact an Experienced Attorney for Help with Your Slip-and-Fall Accident Claim
The skilled legal team at Pacific West Injury Law understands the challenges you face and knows how to communicate with intimidating insurance companies. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your slip and all accident and injuries.