Here’s how hiring an attorney can help your slip and fall accident claim. One of the main benefits of legal representation after an injury is maximizing your compensation.
In 2018 alone, over 37,000 people lost their lives to unintentional falls in the U.S.¹
Estimates show that 20 to 30 percent of those who experience a slip and fall will sustain moderate to severe injuries, such as bruises, broken hips, or head injuries.²
Slip and fall accidents can also cause traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and broken bones in the spine, pelvis, leg, ankle, feet, forearm, upper arm, and hand.
A single slip and fall injury can lead to thousands of dollars in medical expenses, time off work, and pain and suffering. If another person’s failure to reasonably prevent your slip and fall led to your injuries, you have a legal right to expect compensation for these losses.
For some victims, hiring a slip and fall attorney is the best course of action to help maximize their compensation.
Legal representation can prove beneficial for many reasons. Injury lawyers can negotiate a higher settlement, speak to the insurance adjuster on your behalf, and provide you respite as you heal.
Experienced Attorneys Increase Claim Value
If you file a personal injury claim, you’ll want to ensure you receive fair compensation. A slip and fall attorney has considerable skills and experience they can use to increase your financial recovery.
Evidence is incredibly valuable to the success of a slip and fall claim. You’ll need evidence to prove the elements of negligence, which show that the owner of the property where you fell is responsible for paying you for your injuries.
Evidence will establish the scope of your injuries, and link your injuries to the slip and fall incident. An attorney will know what evidence is necessary to establish negligence and the extent of your losses.
An attorney can help by:
- Contacting witnesses for sworn statements
- Filing formal legal requests, known as subpoenas, to obtain surveillance camera footage
- Running asset checks on the at-fault party
- Requesting medical records
- Hiring expert witnesses if necessary
- Obtaining police or incident reports
The more evidence you have in support of your claim, the more likely you’ll receive the compensation you deserve.
Finding Additional Sources of Compensation
Sometimes there are multiple sources of compensation available in a slip and fall claim. For example, there might be more than one insurance policy that you can file a claim against.
A lawyer will know where to look for these sources and how to use them.
Identifying Each At-Fault Party
More than one party could be at-fault for your slip and fall injuries. Each party might have their own insurance policy that you can use. For example, if a malfunctioning freezer caused water to leak on a supermarket floor, both the store and the freezer manufacturer might be liable for your slip and fall.
An injury attorney can determine who is responsible for your injuries and what kinds of insurance coverage they have.
Advancing Legal Costs
When an insurance claim doesn’t settle, legal costs increase. The upfront fees required for a successful lawsuit can total tens of thousands of dollars.
Most personal injury claimants don’t have cash sitting around to use for legal costs. Without the ability to pay certain legal fees, they may not receive fair compensation.
Injury attorneys usually have the financial stability to advance legal costs for their clients. After obtaining a settlement or court award, the lawyer will be repaid for these advancements.
Depending on the claim, legal costs can include the expenses of:
- Filing a complaint
- Taking depositions
- Ordering a copy of depositions taken by the at-fault party’s attorney
- Paying copy fees for medical and employment records
- Hiring medical experts
- Hiring investigators
- Consulting with economists
If your injuries aren’t severe and you’ll heal quickly, your case likely won’t need medical experts or economists. However, other expenses can still add up before settlement.
By advancing money for your claim, an attorney can increase its value.
Negotiating Medical Liens
Not only can an injury lawyer increase your claim value, but they can also manage and reduce medical bills and liens.
Even though some claims take more than a couple of months to settle, medical providers don’t want to wait for payment of medical services provided to an injured victim. However, most injured parties don’t have money available to pay them before their claim settles.
Your attorney can arrange a medical lien to help avoid the negative consequences of unpaid medical bills. With a medical lien, the provider agrees to wait to receive payment until your case settles.
Once you receive compensation, the medical providers get paid, and you satisfy the lien.
Further, lawyers can use their negotiating skills to get medical providers to accept less than the total balance due after your claim settles. If they’re successful, you’ll end up with more money in your pocket.
Example: Increased Compensation with Legal Representation
Edward was out of town for business. He walked into his hotel to check-in and slipped on the floor near the front entrance. When he fell, he suffered a broken leg, wrist, and a severe concussion.
He filed a claim with the hotel’s insurance company. After trying to negotiate his claim independently, the insurance company refused to offer him more than $20,000. Edward knew his damages were worth more, so he hired legal counsel.
His lawyer obtained the hotel’s surveillance camera footage. The footage revealed that about 15 minutes before Edward entered the lobby, someone spilled a cup of coffee on the floor. The individual who did it notified a nearby housekeeper.
The housekeeper left the scene and never returned. Another staff member walked by, glanced at the spill, and kept going.
Along with getting the camera footage, Edward’s lawyer:
- Obtained his medical records and other evidence
- Determined the insurance policies involved and their coverage limits
- Advanced legal fees
- Reached out to two witnesses and took their sworn statements
- Investigated how the slip and fall occurred
- Arranged a medical lien for $40,000 in medical expenses
After several months of negotiations with the attorney, the hotel’s insurance carrier agreed to settle Edward’s claim for $100,000.
The insurance adjuster knew Edward’s attorney could demonstrate the elements of negligence, putting the hotel at a disadvantage. The insurer didn’t want to risk going to court and paying even more for the claim.
In addition to settling the claim, the lawyer negotiated Edward’s medical liens down to $30,000, giving him an additional $10,000 that he otherwise wouldn’t have received.
His attorney increased his settlement by $80,000 and reduced his post-injury medical debt by $10,000. Edward’s decision to hire a slip and fall attorney significantly increased his injury compensation.
Your Lawyer Deals with the Insurance Adjuster
Without a personal injury attorney on your side, you’ll need to deal with an insurance adjuster on your own. Adjusters are often difficult to work with since it’s their job to pay as little as possible for your claim. When they’re successful, their employer saves money.
Claimants who don’t have legal representation are often taken advantage of by adjusters in the negotiation process.
Avoid Insurance Adjuster Tactics
If you hire a lawyer to handle your claim, you won’t have to deal with an insurance adjuster at all. Instead, the adjuster will need to go through your attorney to get any necessary information and negotiate a settlement.
Without legal counsel, you’re vulnerable to an insurance adjuster’s attempts at devaluing your claim.
Adjusters often call as soon as possible after someone files a claim. They want to get the injured victim to accept a minimal settlement offer before they have the chance to hire an injury attorney.
Also, adjusters might ask you to participate in a recorded statement. During this call, they’ll attempt to get you to say something damaging to your claim. Adjusters are also known for twisting the claimant’s words and taking their statements out of context.
Delaying your claim as much as possible is another insurance adjuster tactic. They hope that their delays will wear claimants down, causing them to accept a lowball settlement or to give up seeking compensation altogether.
With a lawyer on your side, insurance adjusters are much less likely to delay claims or offer unreasonable settlements.
If an adjuster calls after you have legal representation, politely let them know you have an attorney and provide their contact information.
Attorneys Can Negotiate Higher Settlements
Since most personal injury lawyers work for a portion of your settlement, it’s in their best interest to get the highest recovery possible. Generally, severely injured individuals who have legal representation receive more compensation than those who don’t.
Knowing the Value of a Slip and Fall Claim
Negotiating a settlement begins with understanding the injured victim’s damages.
While every slip and fall claim is unique, many have the same types of damages. A reputable lawyer will help you identify those that apply to your case.
Your damages might include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future lost wages
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
Your attorney will know your claim’s value based on their experience and the applicable insurance policy limits. Knowing what claims similar to yours typically settle for also helps guide their negotiations with the insurance adjuster.
Using Your Claim’s Strengths
Injury attorneys know how to use a claim’s strengths to their advantage throughout the settlement and negotiation process.
Your attorney will know the case much better than the insurance adjuster. They’re also not afraid to tell the adjuster that their settlement offer is low and explain why.
Awareness of the strengths of a claim is essential for negotiating the best possible final deal.
Strengths in a slip and fall claim might include:
- A history of other slip and falls in the same location
- Complaints from others about a hazardous situation
- Eyewitnesses with reliable statements
- Surveillance camera footage
- The extent of the claimant’s injuries
The Negotiation Process
Negotiations require time, patience, and skill. A personal injury lawyer brings these abilities to the table on your behalf. They know when to hold out for a better counteroffer and when it’s in your best interest to settle. They’re familiar with the insurance adjuster’s tactics and have experience handling them.
Your attorney might start the settlement negotiation process by sending the insurance company a demand letter. It’ll give the details of the requested settlement and the reason for the amount.
The demand letter may also include a statement about going to court if you don’t receive acceptable compensation for your claim.
The negotiation process often begins with a phone call between the attorney and the insurance adjuster. They’ll discuss your case’s strengths and weaknesses and your attorney’s settlement request.
An insurance adjuster’s initial offer will likely be much lower than this request.
But, your lawyer will make a higher counteroffer, at or just below the original demand. Usually, the adjuster and the attorney will have several phone calls back and forth to work out an acceptable deal.
If their negotiations are successful, they’ll eventually agree on a settlement amount. Keep in mind that negotiations often take place over several months.
Representation in Court
Only a small percentage of personal injury claims go to court. However, if the insurance company isn’t willing to offer you a fair settlement, you can file a lawsuit. Your attorney can tell you if filing a suit is in your best interests.
A lawyer can also help by:
- Filing the lawsuit
- Writing pleadings or arguments as to why the at-fault party owes you compensation
- Conducting discovery
- Preparing you to testify or provide sworn statements in court
- Guiding you through the court process
- Presenting your case to a judge and jury
What is Discovery?
Discovery is a part of preparing for trial. It’s the formal process of exchanging information between the injured victim and the owner of the property where you fell. Usually, the material exchanged is about witnesses and the evidence each side plans to use in court.
Discovery allows the parties to know what evidence the other side will present at trial. It thereby prevents one side from “ambushing” the other with new evidence.
With discovery, both sides have ample time to gather evidence to refute each other’s arguments.
A personal injury attorney is also well-versed in your state’s statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is the legal deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit. If you or your lawyer don’t file a lawsuit within the deadline, you lose your right to seek compensation.
Each state has its own statute of limitations, which can vary depending upon the injured victim, the injury, or the at-fault party.
Rest assured that a lawyer will know the specific filing deadline for your lawsuit and take care not to miss it.
A Lawyer Will Save You Time and Effort
It’s possible to manage your own slip and fall claim. However, the time and energy necessary for a successful claim are often hard to come by for those with significant injuries.
Personal injury cases can take up to a couple of years to settle. There’s a lot of back and forth communication, and someone needs to gather evidence, request medical records, and take on organizing all the claim documents.
Many injured persons need time to heal and don’t have the physical or emotional energy to deal with their claim. Even after they heal, they might return to work, leaving less time to focus on getting the compensation they deserve.
A slip and fall injury lawyer can provide invaluable support and guidance during one of the most challenging times in someone’s life. They can handle every aspect of a case, giving their clients the time they need to focus on themselves without distraction.
Having legal representation can make a world of difference in the client’s physical, mental, and financial recoveries.
Attorneys can also help by explaining your legal options and rights. Typically, this begins with a free consultation.
Armed with this knowledge, you can make informed decisions about how you want to proceed.
If you decide to hire an injury attorney, you won’t have to pay anything to meet with or hire them. Reputable personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. Payment for their representation will depend on how much money they recover for you.
If you don’t receive a dime for your claim, neither will your lawyer. A contingency fee gives them an incentive to work as hard as possible on your behalf. When and if you receive compensation, they will receive a pre-arranged percentage of it as their payment.
You have nothing to lose by scheduling a slip and fall consultation with an experienced attorney.
Whether your slip and fall just happened or you’ve already filed a claim but aren’t happy with its progress, you can benefit from legal help.
Remember that a lawyer can help by:
- Explaining your rights and options
- Handling the insurance adjuster
- Collecting evidence
- Advancing necessary fees
- Increasing your claim’s value
- Negotiating a fair settlement
- Taking your case to court if necessary
Take the first step to obtaining compensation for your injuries by scheduling a consultation with a skilled slip and fall lawyer. The sooner you reach out, the more they can help you.
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