Do I Have to File a Lawsuit to Get Paid After a Slip and Fall Accident?
Slip-and-fall accidents lead to 9 million emergency room visits per year and cost an average of $20,000 per accident. If you are injured in a slip-and-fall accident on someone else’s property, your losses may include the cost of immediate medical care and lost income. When the injuries are serious, your future health and livelihood may also be at stake. While it generally isn’t necessary to file a lawsuit to get paid after a slip-and-fall accident, it may be in your best interest if you want to ensure sufficient compensation.
What Should You Do After a Slip-and-Fall Accident?
Taking the right steps after the incident is crucial whether you seek compensation through an insurance claim or from a lawsuit. Without following appropriate procedures, you are likely to significantly reduce the likelihood you recover anything at all from your losses.
Inform the Property Owner of the Accident
Immediately after the accident occurs, inform the property owner or tenant of the incident. You should do this whether the accident occurs at a business or private residence. When discussing the accident, don’t take any blame for it or minimize your injuries. Stick to the facts.
If the owner or occupant is not on the premises, document the incident through photographs and by any other means, so that you can report the incident as soon as possible. If there are witnesses, be sure you gather their contact information.
Seek Medical Attention
If you sustain serious injuries, call an ambulance or visit the emergency room right away. If your injuries do not require emergency services, you should still seek medical attention at an urgent care facility or with your primary care physician.
Make sure you communicate with the attending doctor where and how the accident occurred. In doing so, you provide further documentation of the connection between the slip-and-fall accident and your injuries.
Document the Facts
As soon as possible after the accident, document the facts. If you can take photographs of the conditions that led to the slip-and-fall, do so before you take any further action. You should also write down everything you remember about the incident, including the hazard that led to your slip-and-fall accident. Document your actions as well. If the accident occurred at a business, fill out an incident report and submit it to the property owner or the company’s designated employee.
Establishing the facts is important for determining the other party’s liability. The insurance company will do what they can to show that you were liable for the accident, at least in part. The steps you take to document what happened help ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Notify an Intent To File a Claim
It is unlikely the property owner will offer to compensate you for your injuries or contact their insurance company regarding the incident. To get the ball rolling, you need to notify the property owner and their insurance provider of your intent to file a slip-and-fall injury claim. You should do this as soon as possible. The more time that elapses, the closer you get to reaching Connecticut’s two-year statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits.
Contact an Injury Attorney
Even if you don’t expect to file a lawsuit, it’s a good idea to consult with an experienced injury attorney. While you may think your case is cut-and-dry, the lawyer understands the nuances of the law and how insurance companies operate. An attorney can also examine your case and calculate how much your claim may be worth.
Proceeding through a slip-and-fall claim can take a significant amount of time and energy. With help, you may be able to move your case through to a satisfactory conclusion more quickly.
What Can You Expect After a Slip-and-Fall Accident?
Businesses and homeowners usually have liability insurance to cover accidents that occur on their property. Once you take the preliminary steps, you need to file a claim with the insurance company. The claims adjuster will evaluate the evidence you and the property owner present to determine what the adjuster perceives as fair compensation. You should provide a full accounting of your losses, including:
- Medical expenses
- Out-of-pocket expenses (such as transportation costs to get to and from doctor’s visits)
- Lost income
Be prepared to negotiate. An insurance company is not likely to hand over the amount you think you deserve, especially not in Connecticut.
Connecticut’s Negligence Rules
This state has rules governing any claims that involve negligence. The law stipulates that the at-fault and injured party may share fault for the accident. Therefore, if your actions contribute in any way to the accident, you won’t be compensated for the full amount of your losses. What’s more, if the insurance company decides you were more than 50% responsible, they won’t pay you anything because, according to Connecticut’s modified comparative negligence rules, they don’t have to.
When Should You File a Lawsuit?
If you’re involved in a slip-and-fall accident that involves only minor injuries, you may be able to settle your claim directly with the insurance company. However, the more serious your injuries, the more likely it is you need to file a lawsuit to receive sufficient compensation. Often, these types of cases involve considerations of future losses, such as:
- Medical complications
- Ongoing health issues
- Quality of life issues
- Diminished earning capacity
Your losses could be significant, long-lasting and costly. The insurance company may not be too amenable to paying those damages. In this case, you may be better served to file a lawsuit. An attorney can help you navigate the system and determine if a lawsuit is necessary.
Settling Out of Court
Even if you file a lawsuit, chances are good that you won’t see the inside of a courtroom. Most injury cases are settled out of court. The attorneys for both sides negotiate the terms for settlement, including liability percentages and total compensation.
If you’ve been involved in a slip-and-fall accident, Gould Injury Law is on your side. We pursue your claim aggressively to get you as much compensation as possible. Our attorneys can help whether you need someone to negotiate with the insurance company or fight for you in court. Get in touch with us today for a free consultation.