You may have heard the term, slip, and fall, before as a legal concept but not know what it means. This is because slip and fall cases vary widely depending on the situation, injury and person involved. However, there are a few consistent elements of slip and fall cases that each claim has in common. Learn more about slip and fall claims and how you can file one effectively.
A slip and fall injury refers to an accident where you slip, trip, or stumble on another person or business’s property, resulting in an injury. Slip and fall injuries are common year-round, but particularly in the winter when black ice forms on sidewalks and water pools inside on slippery floors.
It is up to the property owner or renter to make sure they create a safe environment for customers and guests. This includes salting icy sidewalks and putting up warning signs for slippery floors. If a property owner doesn’t do this, their negligence could create a dangerous situation.
Injuries from a slip and fall accident vary by person and situation. However, some of the most common issues include broken hips, arms, or legs, along with head and back injuries. Any injury that results from a slip and fall needs to be taken seriously.
The property owner or the party responsible for keeping the property reasonably safe is typically responsible for your slip and fall, but only if your claim proves that they knew about (or should have known about) the unsafe situation but didn’t take action to fix it.
While the resident or business owner is responsible for your slip and fall injury, a claim is always made against the insurance company. Most homeowners and all companies have insurance to cover the damages of anyone injured on their property. If their insurance company offers a payment amount that is too low, filing a claim against the negligent party and working with their insurance company could increase your settlement.
Hiring an experienced insurance attorney who understands the claim process can help you recover more damages than you could on your own. In fact, working with an attorney typically results in a settlement that is 3.5x higher than what you might obtain if you filed the claim without representation.
Michael E. Ellery understands insurance law. In fact, his first job out of college was working for two of the largest insurance companies, where he learned how their claims process worked. After becoming a personal injury lawyer, Mr. Ellery used that knowledge to resolve claims against insurance companies instead successfully.
The moments following a slip and fall are painful and confusing. You’re so focused on getting back on your feet and recovering from your pain that it’s difficult to process what you need to do. In the wake of an accident, follow these steps to make sure you get the professional care you need while increasing the chances that you get the best insurance settlement possible.
Immediately after a slip and fall, alert the store or business of your injury. First and foremost, this is a safety issue. Other people could get injured if you don’t tell someone about the dangerous situation. Also, telling the store about your injury can help them document the severity of your situation and the immediate effects of your slip and fall.
If you don’t tell the responsible party about your injury, their insurance company might claim that the injury didn’t happen, wasn’t caused by the store, or wasn’t severe enough for you to bring it to light. Any of these claims could limit what you receive for your injuries.
While you can, document details about your accident. This might include photographs of where you fell and the injuries you sustained because of the fall.
Your insurance attorney will likely walk you through the details of your slip and fall accident to build your case. The more information you have photographed or written down, the stronger the case they can build.
If possible, see a doctor immediately after your fall. Many people try to brush off injuries and recover without a doctor, but this can make any injuries worse. Even if you feel fine, you may have internal injuries or something that will get worse if left untreated. Also, waiting too long before seeing a doctor could be considered a treatment gap, which actually weakens their slip and fall or black ice claim. Any insurance attorney will recommend seeing a doctor within a few hours of your fall, with a maximum window of 72 hours after the injury.
Follow your doctor’s orders carefully to receive treatment for your fall. This will help you get back on your feet faster and reduce the risk of permanent injuries. This also shows how dedicated you are to the recovery process.
During your treatment, document the costs of your recovery. These costs start with medical bills and expand into lost wages from missed work, childcare costs, and other expenses that you otherwise wouldn’t have had without the accident.
One tactic insurance companies use to deny coverage is to say that you didn’t follow your doctor’s instructions. They’ll say this is a sign that your injuries aren’t serious, even if they are. Remember, insurance companies are not actually on your side. They only care about their bottom line, saving money, which is why you need an attorney that makes your well-being our top priority.
If the store’s insurance company isn’t willing to cover your medical expenses, or if your injury requires complicated treatment, contact an insurance attorney who can help you win your case. In the state of New Jersey, you have a two-year statute of limitations to file a claim. This means you have two years before the window of time to sue after a slip and fall expires. In some cases, the statute of limitations can be as short as 90 days, and once that window passes, you lose your ability ever to file a claim.
The sooner you file a claim, the better chance you have to win your case. Over time, details get fuzzy, and the insurance company may use your unclear memories against you.
Many of our clients ask if it is hard to win a slip and fall claim. If you follow these steps, the process will be easier. Plus, more than 90 percent of all claims end in mediation, so the odds that you will go to trial are significantly lower. That being said, every case is different. One case might flow smoothly, but another similar case could get tied up in court.
If you are looking to file a slip and fall claim, turn to the personal injury professionals. Contact us for a free consultation and work with an insurance attorney who is dedicated to your case.
After your slip and fall, you just want to get your life back on track. The last thing you want to worry about is fighting with an insurance company that’s more interested in saving money than it is in helping you get better. We can help.
At Console and Associates P.C., we have more than 25 years of experience helping clients in Marlton, Evesham, and the rest of South Jersey settle their slip and fall claims. Whether it’s Insurance Attorney Michael Ellery, or one of our other accomplished lawyers, we’ll take care of your claim so that you can focus on getting better.
“I would highly recommend Console and Associates, PC for their expertise and quality of work for personal injury claims.” A. Corrado / Client