Falls happen to folks everywhere, and they are often the cause of serious injury. Whether it be from a tripping hazard to slippery surfaces on commercial properties, these conditions may emerge from negligent care of the premises. In 2005, the U.S. Bureau of Justice statistics estimated that 60% of the 16,397 tort trials in the United States were related to some form of personal injury. While more recent data is currently unavailable, it is clear that accidents happen, and more and more claims are filed each day. Though a personal injury attorney settles most cases, it is important to understand your rights to potential compensation.
Unfortunately, some people tend to blame themselves when they are not necessarily at fault. This belief often prevents slip-and-fall victims from exploring all of the legal options, including monetary compensation. This belief persists because most slip-and-fall cases are not suited for self-representation because of their complexity and third-party mitigation. If you have been injured in a slip-and-fall, a trip-and-fall, or other types of accidents on hazardous property, it is in your best interest to seek the advice of a personal injury attorney.
How Long Do I Have to File a Slip-and-Fall Lawsuit Against a Company?
You should confirm the statute of limitations in your state in order to determine the time limit within which you must file a lawsuit against a property owner. Every state has a specific statute of limitations for evaluating your time frame. Some states require you to file within a year, while others provide a six-year time frame. In cases of death, the Wrongful Death Act permits families of descendants to file a claim for compensation up to two years after death. If you fear that you are filing after a statute period, contact an attorney to review your options, as you may no longer qualify for compensation.
In general, it is best to use. At the same time, you can get documented evidence and eyewitness testimony to prove your case. The lawsuit process can take years, so it is vital to begin early to ensure your attorney has all the necessary information.
How To Start a Slip-and-Fall Lawsuit against a Company
You and your attorney will need to draft a complaint, also known as a claim, that is filed with a court. A claim is a legal document demanding reimbursement or compensation for an injury as a result of someone else’s negligence. An owner is under a duty to keep their property safe for customers and visitors, which is referred to as premises liability. In the case of a slip and fall accident, property owners can be held liable for injuries if they were aware (or should have been aware) of unsafe conditions on their property and failed to take proper precautions to remove the potential harm to other people. To get started on your slip-and-fall lawsuit, follow the steps below.
1. Get Immediate Medical Attention
The worst thing to do is to do nothing. If your injury requires emergency medical assistance, please request that the property owner (or representative) call 911. Regardless, it is vital to seek medical attention for your well-being after falling and ensure that a professional correctly examines and documents your injuries. If you are not seriously injured, please record any physical changes you observe.
2. Gather Information Surrounding the Incident
It is essential to record the accident scene and your injuries. Be sure to take pictures of any hazardous objections on the location site, as well as of the injuries that you've sustained, for your attorney to review for causation in your case. It's important that you remember the following information:
The time of day the slip and fall occurred.
The conditions surrounding the site of the slip and fall.
The location (addresses and physical environment, i.e., inside, or outside).
If the incident occurred indoors, any wet surfaces, as well as signage.
The clothing items (including shoes) that you were wearing.
Any eyewitnesses (as well as their contact information).
Any physical obstructions that could have contributed to the incident.
The names of all staff or individuals that may have contributed to the incident and their contact information.
3. Contact the Authorities and Make a Report
If you are injured, you should make sure that someone in authority, preferably the property owner or primary representative (i.e., a store manager or other authoritative figure), is aware of the incident and has documented it. Many businesses have procedures in place to record accidents, so be sure to follow up on any steps that they require.
4. File a Claim for Compensation
To file a claim, you will need the following:
The place where the injury happened.
The time when the injury occurred.
Any relevant eyewitness statements.
You must give a 90-day notice to your relevant municipal entity (such as your insurance), alerting them of the circumstances of the injury and that the injured party will be able to claim damages. No matter your state, property owner negligence must be proved.
Depending on your state, you must file a claim within a certain period that begins from the date that the injury occurred. Be advised that different states have varying statutes of limitations, and it is a good idea to act quickly after your injury. For example, the Missouri statute of limitations permits individuals to file a claim up to 5 years from the date of the accident, whereas, in Alabama, you have up to 2 years to file. It is a good idea to consult a personal injury lawyer to ensure that your claim is filed promptly and professionally.
How Long Does a Slip-and-Fall Lawsuit Take?
Because each case is unique, slip-and-fall cases vary in settling time. However, immediately filing a claim does ensure financial compensation. In general, slip-and-fall cases can take anywhere from six months to six years to resolve. However, you should consider the time it takes to treat your injuries, collect all evidence and statements, and process your case.
It is crucial to abide by your state's statute of limitations regarding slip-and-fall injury cases. If multiple parties are involved in a dispute, or the defendant challenges the claim, resolving the issue may require additional time for review and processing.
Will My Lawsuit Go to Court?
Typical slip-and-fall cases are settled through the property owner’s insurance provider by filing a claim. However, every case is unique. There are scenarios where a slip-and-fall case could go to trial, for example, if both parties cannot reach a settlement agreement, or you may receive higher compensation by doing so. However, keep in mind that pursuing a trial is costly, and you may have a higher chance of fair recovery by filing a personal injury claim.
How To Find a Slip-and-Fall Attorney
If you're ever the victim of a slip-and-fall accident, documentation and adequate legal representation are imperative to winning your claim. After your injury, you may wonder how to begin the process of filing your claim, and doing so sooner, the better outcome you may have in obtaining compensation. Please refer to Expertise.com's directory to begin screening potential personal injury lawyers with the best fit for your needs.
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