Slip-and-fall accidents can be caused by anything from uneven flooring, rolled carpets, and slippery surfaces to obstructed walkways. The National Floor Safety Institute reports that slip-and-falls are the most common injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms, accounting for approximately 8 million visits a year. Additionally, while slip-and-falls are not usually the worst workplace accidents, the NFSI reports that they are the primary cause of missed days from work (i.e., lost compensation).
If you or a loved one have been injured due to a negligent property owner’s failure to upkeep their premises, you may have grounds to file an injury lawsuit. In most injury claims, accident victims and their families choose to hire a lawyer experienced in the field to represent their best interests during settlement negotiations or trial. A premises liability attorney with experience in slip-and-fall injury cases could make all the difference to the success of your claim.
Do I Need a Slip-and-Fall Lawyer?
The most important decision victims of slip-and-fall accidents will need to make in pursuing compensation for their injuries is whether or not to hire representation for their case. While a portion of any compensation you recover will be used to pay your attorney’s legal fees, the likelihood of recovering your losses is greatly increased by hiring experienced representation. The following list describes the primary benefits of hiring a slip-and-fall injury attorney to represent your claim.
1. Proving the Defendant’s Fault for Slip-and-Fall Accident
Most injury lawsuits involve an injured victim suing another party who directly caused their accident (for example, a victim hit by an intoxicated driver). However, identifying the involved parties in slip-and-fall accidents is a little more complicated. Because no one has actively worked to cause the accident (for example, pushing or tripping the victim), you will need to prove that the passive negligence of another party caused the circumstances that resulted in your slip-and-fall. An experienced slip-and-fall injury attorney will compile the necessary evidence to prove that the owner of the premises failed to maintain safe conditions and can, therefore, be considered financially liable for your injuries.
2. Correlating Economic Losses With Slip-and-Fall Accident
After your attorney has proven the defendant’s liability, they will establish the total worth of your economic losses. Economic losses after a slip-and-fall accident primarily include the cost of necessary medical treatments (for example, emergency medical care, physical therapy, or surgical interventions). Generally, injury victims should expect complete compensation for any costs or financial losses related to their slip-and-fall injuries.
3. Seeking Compensation for Non-Economic Losses
While financial losses are the easiest to quantify, victims of slip-and-fall accidents may suffer other losses known as non-economic damages. This category of damages is intended to cover victims’ pain and suffering. For example, while some slip-and-fall accidents result in a sprained ankle, others can have longer-lasting effects like broken hips, concussion, or spinal energy. Long-term injuries can inflict physical and emotional trauma on victims and their families. Therefore, your attorney will help you seek compensation for these damages in addition to your economic losses.
4. Protecting Your Best Interests in Settlement Negotiations or Court
Slip-and-fall injury cases involve a complex understanding of premises liability law that varies from state to state. The defendant’s attorney will do everything in their power to prove that their client is not liable for your injuries. If fault is undeniable, they will attempt to lower the settlement amount as much as possible. Hiring quality representation means you will not be taken advantage of during financial settlement negotiations or the litigation process. With an attorney representing your right to fair compensation, you are more likely to receive full compensation for economic and non-economic losses alike.
Qualities of a Good Slip-and-Fall Attorney
Once you have decided to hire representation for your slip-and-fall injury claim, you may find that you have an abundance of choices for representation. By focusing your search on attorneys with the following qualities, you can ensure that your slip-and-fall claim is well represented.
Experienced in Representing Slip-and-Fall Victims
Firstly, it is ideal to find attorneys who have represented cases similar to yours in the past. If an attorney has successfully helped recover damages in a previous slip-and-fall case, there is a greater likelihood that they can help you do the same.
Knowledgeable of Specialty Practice Area
Attorneys generally focus their time on specializing in a particular area of law. These professional skill sets are known as “specialty practice areas.” Attorneys with specialty practice areas in premises liability law in your state (particularly as it pertains to slip-and-fall accidents) will be the best fit for your slip-and-fall injury claim.
Communicative with Clients
While your attorney’s knowledge of premises liability law and their experience in settlement negotiation are crucial factors, it is also important that your attorney is available to you and communicative throughout the process of filing your claim. If an attorney does not make the time to communicate with their client and answer questions or concerns, you will likely be left with a lot of uncertainty and confusion.
Proactive in Planning
As soon as you consult with an attorney, they should have a strategy in mind to prove the defendant’s liability for your injuries and recover the full cost of your damages. During your consultation, do not be afraid to ask questions about the attorney’s expectations for your claim.
Transparent Regarding Fee Structure
Lastly, attorneys should be upfront about their fee structure and compensation. Most attorneys are compensated by a portion of their client’s settlement. The portion of your settlement reserved for your attorney’s fees should be clearly agreed upon when you sign your contract. If an attorney does not specify their fee structure or demands significant compensation upfront, this may be a potential warning sign that they are not a reliable option.
How To Hire a Slip-and-Fall Lawyer
Hiring legal representation for an injury claim is relatively straightforward, especially when you have found a quality attorney. The process of hiring representation for a slip-and-fall injury case is outlined in the following steps.
Compile Available Information
Before you meet with a slip-and-fall attorney, it is important to gather any information you have regarding your slip-and-fall accident and subsequent injuries. The more information you have to relay, the more accurate the attorney can be when assessing the eligibility and/or value of your claim.
Begin Your Search
Every major city in the country is home to thousands of practicing attorneys; therefore, slip-and-fall accident victims may find they are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of choices. Using the criteria listed above, you can begin to narrow down your options until you find a promising candidate. Once you have found an attorney you believe will be a good choice for your slip-and-fall claim, you can schedule your initial consultation.
Schedule a Free Consultation
Most personal injury attorneys offer new clients no-cost, no-obligation initial consultations (sometimes called case reviews). During the consultation, the attorney will review the details of your injury and determine if you have a valid claim. This also gives you the opportunity to assess whether the attorney in question is the right representation for you. Once the attorney has reviewed your case and you have determined they are a good fit, you can officially hire the attorney and begin the process of filing your slip-and-fall injury claim.
Resources for Slip-and-Fall Victims
Slip-and-fall injuries can cause significant injuries, loss of employment, and impaired mobility. Victims may face difficulties weeks or even months after their accident. If you or a loved one are struggling in the aftermath of a slip-and-fall accident, resources are available to help.
Database of Personal Injury Attorneys at Expertise.com
Those interested in filing a slip-and-fall injury claim should first consult with an injury lawyer. If you are beginning your search for representation, Expertise.com offers a free-to-use database of experienced injury attorneys. Using the database, you can filter attorneys by location and specialty practice areas to find the right representation option for your slip-and-fall injury claim.
State Social Security Office
While many slip-and-fall accidents result in temporary injuries, factors such as the distance of the fall and the age of the victim can increase the likelihood of severe injury. For example, an older adult who suffers a fall is more likely to suffer severe injury to the hip or spine. If these injuries are severe enough, the victim may be unable to return to work full-time (if at all). If a slip-and-fall accident has resulted in temporary or long-term disability, victims may be eligible to claim social security benefits to supplement their income.
Even a minor slip-and-fall injury can result in a significant financial burden for victims who are uninsured or underinsured. Treating severe injuries could result in major debt for victims and their families. While filing a slip-and-fall injury claim is the ideal long-term solution for recovering these costs, many victims may need immediate assistance. Dollar For is a nonprofit organization that helps patients struggling with the financial burden of medical treatment access charity care and debt forgiveness. To see if you qualify for assistance, complete the information form on their website.
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