People slip, trip and fall for all kinds of reasons, but when an accident happens due to a property or business owner’s negligence, they may be liable for any injury that is caused.
After a slip and fall injury, it’s important to take steps to protect your rights. Contacting a slip and fall lawyer as soon as you can is ideal, but what happens if you failed to report an accident to the owner or didn’t realize how bad your injury was until much later? Depending on the circumstances, a personal injury attorney may be able to help you recover compensation for your damages.
What Is a Slip and Fall Case?
Business and property owners have a responsibility to keep their premises safe and in good condition. When they fail to perform regular maintenance and repairs or fix hazardous conditions, they may be liable if someone is injured. These types of accidents can happen anywhere and may lead to serious injuries such as:
- Broken bones
- Sprains, strains and torn ligaments
- Damage to the head, neck or spine
- Traumatic brain injury
- Cuts and bruises
- Facial lacerations and dental injuries
Some common slip and fall hazards include slippery floors, uncleared snow or ice, cracked or uneven stairs, walkways, or floors, loose rugs, poor lighting and clutter left on the ground. If your injury was caused by a dangerous condition that could have been prevented, you may be entitled to bring a slip and fall accident claim against the property owner, business or multiple parties.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Slip and Fall?
It’s never a bad idea to contact a lawyer after any kind of accident you believe was caused by someone else’s negligence. A slip and fall attorney can evaluate your case, advise you of your options and help you or a loved one recover compensation for your lost wages and medical bills — as well as physical pain and suffering and other damages. Most slip and fall accident lawyers offer a free initial consultation, so you won’t have to pay anything to find out if you have a viable claim.
If you do have a valid claim and decide to proceed, your attorney will send a slip and fall demand letter, which gives notice of your intention to pursue compensation for your injuries and losses. Insurance companies often try to minimize or deny claims, so having an experienced slip and fall lawyer to represent your interests, act as your advocate and handle negotiations is critical recovering maximum compensation. Gathering evidence and dealing with negotiations while you’re injured can be physically and emotionally draining. A lawyer can handle all aspects of your case and take the weight off your shoulders so you can focus on getting better.
What to Do After a Slip and Fall Accident
The most important thing to do after a slip and fall accident is to seek medical attention. A doctor will diagnose and treat your injuries, and seeing a medical professional provides documentation of your slip and fall injury. It’s also vital to follow all treatment recommendations by health care providers. Both of these things provide valuable evidence that can be used to back up a personal injury claim.
Take photos of everything, including the scene, your injuries and any evidence of the hazardous condition. For example, if you slipped on a wet floor, get wide camera shots or take video of the area before it is cleaned up. Make sure to note whether there was a warning sign posted.
Report your accident to the property owner or management. Keep any evidence you possess, such as the clothes and shoes you were wearing at the time the accident occurred. Do not wash them — dirt, blood and rips in your clothing or shoes can help to demonstrate the seriousness of your slip and fall accident. Get contact information from any witnesses who may have seen what happened as well.
Do not admit fault or speak to any insurance company representative, and be sure not to sign anything or accept a settlement without first speaking to a slip and fall accident lawyer. Write down everything you remember about the events leading up to your accident. Save all of your medical bills, receipts, proof of lost wages and any other evidence of accident-related expenses. Although you may want to talk or post about it on social media, it’s best not to divulge any details about your accident or injuries.
What to Do If You Slip and Fall at Work
Slip, trip and fall accidents can occur at any workplace and are particularly common in industrial settings and on construction sites. In addition to following the steps outlined above, you should report your accident to your supervisor or HR department immediately, in writing if possible. Unlike most states, Texas does not require employers to carry workers compensation insurance. If your employer does have workers’ comp, make sure to see an approved medical provider.
If your employer was negligent or failed to provide a safe workplace, or if a coworker’s negligence caused your injury, the company may be liable for your medical bills and other damages. A slip and fall accident lawyer who has experience handling workplace injury claims can evaluate your case and advise you on the most effective course of action to safeguard your health and financial security.
What to Do If You Slip and Fall at a Store
If you fell at a business (and if you are able), report your accident to management right away. Ask for a copy of an incident report, but don’t sign anything. Obtain contact information for the store manager, property owner and their insurers if possible. If law enforcement was called, make sure to get a copy of the police report as well. An adjuster from their insurance company will most likely contact you within a day or two. Do not give a statement or sign anything before speaking to a slip and fall personal injury attorney. Insurance adjusters often pose questions in a way that can make it sound like you are admitting fault for your accident or injuries, which can lead to a personal injury claim being denied. Let your attorney handle all communications and negotiations with the insurance company.
How Long Do You Have to See a Doctor After a Slip and Fall?
There is really no set time limit on when you can see a doctor after a slip and fall accident, but personal injury attorneys recommend that you see a medical professional as soon as you can after an injury. Whether you go to the emergency room, urgent care or your family doctor, the answer’s the same: the sooner the better.
It’s especially important to seek prompt medical attention if you have sustained serious injuries such as broken bones or a concussion. Injuries like broken ribs or internal bleeding may not even be apparent until you visit a doctor. Signs of serious head or brain injury include drowsiness, nausea, headaches, dizziness, vomiting and insomnia. Taking care of your health and getting the care you need should be your top priority.
How Long Do You Have to Report a Slip and Fall?
You should report a slip and fall accident to a property or business owner immediately. Slip and fall lawyers understand that sometimes reporting an accident may not be possible if the owner isn’t around or you have trouble finding their contact information. But this doesn’t mean you don’t have any recourse for recovering compensation — an attorney can track down the owner and their insurance company and help you initiate a claim.
Typically, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim in Texas is two years. However, it’s important to speak to a lawyer as soon as you can following an injury. If you discover your injury weeks, months or even a year later, the statute of limitations deadline may be extended to two years from the date the injury was identified. The laws surrounding these types of cases are complex, so it’s best to consult a slip and fall lawyer to find out how the statute of limitations may apply in your case.
How Long Do Slip and Fall Settlements Take?
A slip and fall claim can be resolved in a few months, or it may take years. The length of a case depends on many different factors, including how and where the accident happened, the extent of your injuries and their impact on your life, whether multiple parties are liable and, of course, how willing the at-fault party is to agree on a reasonable settlement. Although most slip and fall cases are settled out of court, there are some that end up going to trial. Slip and fall cases that go to trial typically take longer.
Circumstances vary, but gathering evidence and building a case which proves negligence takes time. After your attorney sends a slip and fall demand letter, they will most likely have several rounds of negotiations with the insurance company and may enter into formal mediation or arbitration. A form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), arbitration involves a neutral third-party arbitrator who plays a role similar to a judge. The arbitration process is much more relaxed and informal than a trial and can help both plaintiffs and defendants save a lot of time and money while freeing up the civil courts for other matters.
How Much Are Attorney Fees for a Slip and Fall Case?
Most slip and fall accident lawyers work on contingency, which means they only get attorney fees if they recover compensation in your case. However, you may be responsible for other costs such as court filing fees, medical record requests, expert witness testimony and other expenses. If your claim is successful, most personal injury attorneys take 30-40% of your total settlement, depending on both the specifics and the complexity of your case.
How to Win a Slip and Fall Case
Proving negligence in slip and fall claims can be challenging. To win a slip and fall personal injury case, you must prove:
- Liability: You must show that the at-fault party owed you a duty of care. For example, a grocery store has a duty of care to keep floors reasonably free from debris, liquids and other hazards.
- Negligence: You must also prove that the negligent party breached their duty of care.
- Causation: You must demonstrate that their breach of duty of care caused your injury.
- Damages: To recover monetary compensation, you must show that you suffered actual damages as a result of the defendant’s negligence. Damages may include loss of income and earning capacity, medical expenses, mental anguish, pain and suffering, and physical impairment or disfigurement.
Your best chance at winning a slip and fall case is to hire a seasoned personal injury lawyer who has experience handling all kinds of premises liability claims. Attorneys who have litigated a lot of premises liability claims understand how to put an accurate value on damages and are usually adept at proving negligence in many different types of slip and fall cases.
Hiring a Good Personal Injury Lawyer Is Critical to Winning Your Case
It’s vital to remember that the sooner you speak to a lawyer after an accident or injury, the better. No matter whether you are suffering from a slip and fall injury that happened yesterday or two months ago, a good slip and fall lawyer will give you an honest assessment of your case and advise you of your options. A caring, capable attorney can help you understand your rights and guide you through the claims process. Most importantly, your slip and fall lawyer will act as your staunch advocate and fight tirelessly to help you recover the maximum compensation you need and deserve.
Contact a Slip and Fall Attorney for a Free Case Evaluation
Slip and fall claims require the knowledge and experience of seasoned personal injury lawyers. At Leinart Law Firm, our slip and fall lawyers get results. We have a proven track record of success in recovering compensation for injured victims in all types of premises liability cases and offer honest legal advice in terms that are easy to understand. We’re dedicated to making things right for injured victims and their families and won’t quit in our pursuit to recover maximum compensation for your injuries and damages. For a free case evaluation, please call us at 469-232-3328 in Dallas and 817-426-3328 in Fort Worth, fill out the contact form on our website or email us today.