WHAT GOES INTO THE PROCESS OF PURSUING A SLIP AND FALL LAWSUIT?

Even a minor slip and fall can majorly impact your health and your financial security. Unfortunately, a property owner’s negligence often serves as the cause of a slip and fall.

If you suffered injuries in a slip and fall on another person’s property – whether it was a private residence, commercial establish or even a government-owned property – you may have the right to bring a premises liability lawsuit.

In this specific type of personal injury lawsuit, you would seek to hold the property owner accountable and to recover just compensation for all of your medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering and more.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO AFTER A SLIP AND FALL OCCURS?

The National Floor Safety Institute reports that roughly one million people visit hospital emergency rooms each year as the result of slip and falls. These incidents often occur in public places such as stores, hotels, restaurants or offices.

When a slip and fall happens, you should notify the property manager or a security guard immediately so an accident report can be filed.

You should also get medical attention as soon as possible – even if you think your injuries are minor.

If you fail to report the incident or to get prompt medical attention, it could jeopardize your right to compensation.

In the aftermath of your slip and fall, an insurance company representative may contact you, looking to settle your claim. Before you make any statements or sign any documents, you should first speak with an experienced premises liability attorney.

Insurance companies want to minimize the amount of compensation you receive. The insurer will use any statements you make against you.

HOW DOES A SLIP AND FALL LAWSUIT WORK?

An insurer may offer you a settlement that fails to fully cover your past and future medical bills, lost income, diminished earning ability, pain, suffering and other damages.

Filing a slip and fall lawsuit may be the only way to pursue the maximum amount of compensation that you are entitled to receive.

Your attorney can file a lawsuit on your behalf in the appropriate court. The lawsuit typically would allege that the property owner failed to:

  • Correct a dangerous condition that the owner knew or reasonably should have known about (such as a wet floor or an uneven sidewalk); or
  • Warn visitors to the property that the dangerous condition existed.

The lawsuit would assert facts such as:

  • Where the injury occurred
  • How the slip and fall happened
  • Who should be held liable
  • What injuries and other damages you have suffered.

WHAT EVIDENCE GOES INTO A SLIP AND FALL CLAIM?

Evidence that could be helpful in proving your case in a slip and fall lawsuit would include:

  • Incident reports
  • Witness statements
  • Photographs of your injuries and the accident scene
  • Medical reports and test results
  • Bills, statements and receipts for your treatment and medication
  • A doctor’s statement regarding your injury and prognosis
  • Testimony from experts relating to how the accident occurred, the nature and extent of your injuries and the impact on your health and your ability to earn a living.

WHAT ARE THE STEPS IN A SLIP AND FALL LAWSUIT?

Every personal injury lawsuit is different. However, the steps in a slip and fall lawsuit typically would consist of:

  • Filing the lawsuit. The lawsuit would be filed in the proper court and served on the property owner. (However, in some cases, the defendant in a personal injury lawsuit may agree to a settlement before a lawsuit is filed.
  • Answer. After you file a lawsuit, the property owner would have the opportunity to answer your allegations and present its own version of how the accident and your injuries occurred.
  • Discovery.  Before a case would go to trial, both sides would have the opportunity to engage in a formal information-gathering process called “discovery.” During this phase, both sides could obtain sworn written statements called “affidavits” or sworn testimony called “depositions.”
  • Trial. If no settlement is reached, a case would proceed to trial. As the plaintiff in the lawsuit, you would have the burden of proving the property owner’s negligence by a “preponderance of the evidence.” After hearing all of the evidence, a jury would return a verdict. The jury typically would need to answer two questions:
    • Was the property owner negligent?
    • If so, then how much should you recover in damages?

After a verdict is returned, either side would have the right to appeal the decision.

Keep in mind: At any point in these proceedings – even after a verdict is returned – your attorney could reach a settlement agreement with the property owner that would resolve your case.

CONTACT A MEMPHIS PREMISES LIABILITY ATTORNEY TODAY

If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a slip and fall, contact the Law Office of David E. Gordon. We can advise you on the best course of action and assist you in pursuing the compensation you are entitled to receive. Before you accept an insurance settlement, make sure to get in touch with us for a free consultation about your case.