What Does a Slip and Fall Lawyer Do? 9 Ways an Attorney Can Help

Hiring an attorney can help you get a higher settlement for your slip and fall claim. Learn about everything an attorney can do for you.

Every year, millions of people are treated in hospital emergency departments for fall injuries.¹ Injuries from slip and fall accidents range from soft tissue injuries and simple broken bones to potentially fatal hip fractures and traumatic brain injuries (TBI).

When someone else’s negligence caused your injuries, you might decide to manage your own slip and fall claim. However, the time and energy necessary to win a claim are often hard to come by for those with significant injuries.

A slip and fall lawyer can provide invaluable support and guidance during a challenging time. They will handle every aspect of a case, giving their clients the time to focus on recovering from their injuries.

What a Slip and Fall Attorney Will Do For You:

  1. Calculate Your Claim’s Value
  2. Collect Crucial Evidence
  3. Find Additional Compensation
  4. Identify All At-Fault Parties
  5. Deal With the Insurance Adjuster
  6. Negotiate a Higher Settlement
  7. File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
  8. Advance Legal Costs and Court Fees
  9. Negotiate a Reduction to Medical Liens

1. Calculate Your Claim’s Value

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:

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 will guide their negotiations with the insurance adjuster.

2. Collect Crucial Evidence

Evidence is crucial to the success of a slip and fall claim. You’ll need evidence to prove that the owner of the property is responsible for the dangerous condition and liable for your damages.

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 will help with evidence by:

  • Sending a spoliation notice
  • Contacting witnesses for sworn statements
  • Filing 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 to support your claim, the more likely you’ll receive the compensation you deserve.

3. Find Additional Compensation

Sometimes there are multiple sources of compensation available in a slip and fall claim.

For example, let’s say you’re seriously injured after falling over debris your neighbor left on the sidewalk. The property owner will have a regular homeowners’ insurance policy and may also carry umbrella liability insurance that applies to your claim.

A lawyer will know where to look for these sources and how to pursue them for additional compensation.

4. Identify All At-Fault Parties

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 file a claim against. For example, if a malfunctioning freezer caused water to leak on a grocery store floor, both the business owner and the freezer manufacturer might be liable for your slip and fall on the wet floor.

A good personal injury attorney can determine who is responsible for your injuries and what kinds of insurance coverage they have.

5. Deal With the Insurance Adjuster

If you hire a lawyer to handle your claim, you won’t have to deal with an insurance adjuster. Instead, the adjuster will have 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 lowball settlement offer before they have the chance to hire an injury attorney.

The adjuster may ask you to give a recorded statement. During this call, they’ll attempt to get you to say something damaging to your claim. With an attorney, you’ll never have to answer questions without advance preparation and your attorney at your side.

If an adjuster calls after you have legal representation, politely let them know you have an attorney and provide their contact information.

6. Negotiate a Higher Settlement

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.

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 offer and when it’s best to settle. They’re familiar with insurance adjusters’ tactics and have experience handling them.

Similarly, adjusters are familiar with the skill and reputation of experienced personal injury lawyers. They know that lawyers can take a case to trial if that’s what it takes to get fair compensation.

Insurance companies will typically offer more to settle than risk having their insured dragged into court.

7. File a Personal Injury Lawsuit

When negotiations fail, or the statute of limitations is running out, the next step is to file a lawsuit. Your attorney can tell you if filing a premises liability suit is in your best interests.

Very few personal injury cases go all the way to trial. Your attorney will continue to negotiate with the at-fault party’s legal team throughout the litigation process.

The first phase of a slip and fall lawsuit is called discovery. It’s the formal process of exchanging information between the injured victim and the property owner. Usually, the material exchanged is about witnesses and the evidence each side plans to use in court.

Discovery allows both parties to know what evidence the other side will present at trial. When the at-fault party sees what your attorney will be presenting to a jury, they are more likely to offer fair compensation to settle the case.

8. Advance Legal Costs and Court Fees

When an insurance claim doesn’t settle, legal costs increase. The filing fees and legal costs required for a successful lawsuit can total thousands of dollars.

Most personal injury claimants don’t have cash sitting around for legal costs. Injury attorneys usually have the financial stability to advance these costs for their clients. After obtaining a settlement or court award, the lawyer will be repaid for these advancements.

Depending on your case, legal costs can include:

  • Filing a court complaint
  • Hiring a court reporter for 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

If you don’t have serious injuries and are expected to heal quickly, your slip and fall case likely won’t need medical experts or economists. However, other expenses can still add up before settlement.

9. Negotiate a Reduction to Medical Liens

Not only can an injury lawyer increase your claim value, but they can also manage and reduce medical bills and liens.

When your medical bills arising from the slip and fall have been paid by Medicare, Medicaid, the VA, or private health insurance, they have the legal right to put a lien on your settlement proceeds to recover the money they paid on your behalf.

If you have no health insurance, you probably don’t have money available to pay for accident-related medical treatment before your personal injury claim settles.

To keep you out of collections, your attorney can offer the doctors and hospital a “letter of protection” that accepts a medical lien to help avoid the negative consequences of unpaid medical bills. With a medical lien, the provider agrees to wait for payment until your case settles. Once you receive compensation, the medical providers get paid, and you satisfy the lien.

Personal injury lawyers often negotiate with lienholders 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.

A Lawyer Will Save You Time and Effort

Having legal representation can make a world of difference in the injured person’s physical, mental, and financial recovery.

Most law firms offer a free consultation to slip and fall victims. If you decide to hire a personal injury attorney, most are willing to work on a contingency fee basis. Payment for their representation will depend on how much money they recover for you.

You have nothing to lose by scheduling a free case evaluation with an experienced slip and fall attorney.

Whether your fall just happened or you’ve already filed a claim but aren’t happy with its progress, you can benefit from legal advice.

Dustin Reichard, Esq. is an experienced attorney with 20 years of work in the legal field. He’s admitted to the Illinois State Bar and the Washington State Bar. Dustin has worked in the areas of medical malpractice, wrongful death, product liability, slip and falls, and general liability. Dustin began his legal career as a JAG... Read More >>