Around 1 million Americans sustain a slip and fall injury. If you happen to be a victim and the incident took place on someone else’s property (may it be residential or commercial), you can hire a personal injury lawyer and file a claim to get compensated.
However, you need to accomplish things to win a lawsuit — or get a good settlement in case you won’t go to trial (because trials are usually time-consuming and risky). Here are six things to keep in mind.
Contact authorities. To let others know that you’ve suffered a slip and fall injury, you must immediately contact the property owner or any other authoritative person (e.g., a store manager). You’d want to get in touch with a personal injury attorney as well to get expert counsel. Take note that even if your claim has a sufficient legal basis, it won’t be valid if you make your claim after the statute of limitation has already expired.
Prove the property owner’s negligence. While it’s relatively easy to prove the extent of injury you’ve suffered, what’s challenging is to attribute it to the negligence of another party (and not your own). To prove their negligence, you have to show that there’s a known hazard in the premises (e.g., cracked floors, wet floors, uneven steps, potholes, obstacles) and the owner did not act upon it accordingly. Another way is to show that it’s the owner who caused the dangerous condition.
Document your injury. To make your case stronger, any personal injury attorney would advise you to take photos of your injury and the hazardous condition that causes the incident. If there’s CCTV in the area, you also have to secure camera footage. And to help justify your claim, you should be able to present records of your medical bills.
Gather evidence. Apart from the abovementioned proof, you can also further solidify your claim by gathering witness statements. For instance, you can get a statement about how the property owner has been consistently negligent about the dangerous condition within his or her premises. Or a statement proving that there is no warning sign posted near the hazard. You can also get previous official accident reports to support your case.
Fight for what is just. To be able to win a lawsuit or arrive at a justifiable settlement, you have first to understand what your rights are. Apart from the medical expenses, you can also get compensated for the loss of income and other miscellaneous costs you’ve acquired related to your injury. Non-economic damages include loss of life enjoyment, pain, and suffering. When fighting for your rights, practice honesty — don’t exaggerate or get greedy just to receive a huge amount of compensation.
Hire an experienced personal injury lawyer. As stated earlier, it’s recommended to get guidance from an experienced lawyer. He or she can help you assess your situation thoroughly and present your case strongly. However, you have to choose a competent legal counsel with good negotiation skills so you can protect your rights better. You’d also get a higher chance to receive compensation by enlisting his or her service.