Is it Hard to Win a Slip and Fall Case?

Is it Hard to Win a Slip and Fall Case?

A slip and fall accident on someone else's property can lead to serious injuries, depending on the circumstances and the accident location. These accidents can happen anywhere, including commercial or residential properties.

In most slip and fall accident cases, you will be dealing with the insurance company for the responsible property owner. However, if you are dealing with the insurance company by yourself, it is extremely unlikely that you will receive favorable compensation to settle your case. In fact, the insurance company may look for ways to try to deny your claim or even allege that you caused or contributed to your own slip and fall accident.

Unfortunately, insurance companies are routinely skeptical of self-represented accident victims, believing they lack the necessary skills to negotiate or litigate their cases effectively. One of the best ways to increase your chances of receiving a favorable settlement offer from the insurance company is to retain an experienced premises liability lawyer as soon as possible.

A good personal injury lawyer will understand the tricks and tactics that insurance companies routinely use to undervalue slip and fall accident cases. Therefore, your attorney will know how to combat these tactics and can aggressively negotiate for fair settlement compensation on your behalf. Moreover, if the insurance company does not make you a fair settlement offer, your lawyer can threaten the insurance company with litigation in the court system and, if necessary, follow through by filing a lawsuit on your behalf.

Is it Hard to Win a Slip and Fall Case

The duty of care that a property owner owes to a visitor depends upon the visitor's status on the owner's property at a particular time. In most jurisdictions, there are three main types of property visitors: business invitees, social guests (or licensees), and trespassers.

A business invitee is an individual who enters another person's property to benefit the property owner. Common examples of business invitees include:

  • Shoppers at a store or mall that is open to the public
  • Shoppers at an indoor or outdoor shopping center
  • Grocery store patrons
  • Restaurant and bar patrons

Property owners owe business invitees the highest possible legal duty of care. Specifically, regarding property defects, premises owners have a duty to provide prompt warnings or repair the defect (such as a food spill or other fall hazard) within a reasonable amount of time. In addition, a property owner should regularly inspect their premises for the benefit of business invitees. If the property owner or manager comes across a defect, they have a duty to promptly warn about or repair the condition within a reasonable timeframe. Otherwise, they may be directly responsible for an accident victim's injuries in a slip and fall accident.

Property owners also owe licensees – or social guests at someone’s home – a high legal duty of care. A social guest is someone present on someone else's property for a non-business purpose. Common examples of social guests include dinner guests who are present at someone's residence. Property owners also owe licensees and social guests a high legal duty of care. Specifically, they must warn about or correct known dangerous conditions on their premises, and they must do so within a reasonable timeframe. Otherwise, they may be liable for any slip and fall accident that occurs, as well as the resulting consequences.

Finally, in contrast to a business invitee and licensee, a trespasser is an individual who is present on someone else's premises without the owner's permission. In most circumstances, a premises owner does not owe a trespasser a legal duty of reasonable care. However, if the property owner is aware of the trespasser's presence (such as when it is a child), they may owe the trespasser a legal duty of care.

A skilled slip and fall attorney in your area can determine whether a property owner likely owed you a legal duty of care in your circumstances and, if so, whether the property owner likely violated their legal duty. If so, your lawyer can take the appropriate steps on your behalf and file a claim with the at-fault property owner's insurance company on your behalf. After filing this claim, your lawyer can handle all oral and written communications with the insurance company and its adjusters.

Successfully Proving a Slip and Fall Accident Case

Slip and fall accident victims who can satisfy the legal elements of their claim can recover various types and amounts of monetary compensation. In addition to establishing that the property owner owed them a legal duty of care, the accident victim must establish that the property owner violated that legal duty. For example, the premises owner may not have cleaned up a spill within a reasonable amount of time or failed to place a warning placard in the area to let others know about the fall hazard.

In addition to establishing a duty-of-care violation, a premises accident victim must show that their slip and fall directly resulted from the property owner's negligence. Finally, the accident victim must establish that they suffered at least one physical injury due to the property owner's duty-of-care violation.

Common Injuries in a Slip and Fall Accident

When an individual strikes the ground with a significant amount of force in a slip and fall accident, they may suffer extremely serious and sometimes permanent injuries. An accident victim's injuries will depend on the surface on which they land and how they land on the ground when they fall. The force of an accident victim’s fall may also affect the injuries that they ultimately suffer.

Some of the most common slip and fall accident injuries include:

  • Open lacerations and road rash
  • Bruises
  • Rib fractures
  • Bone fractures
  • Soft tissue neck and back injuries
  • Traumatic head and brain injuries

Moreover, if the accident strikes the ground and hits their head, neck, or back, they may suffer a complete or incomplete paralysis injury or spinal cord injury.

If you recently suffered injuries in a slip and fall accident, your top priority should be completing your medical treatment regimen. If you do so, you have a much better chance of making a full recovery from your accident-related injuries. Additionally, the insurance company is more likely to offer you favorable compensation if you take swift action to address your injuries and if there are no significant gaps in your medical treatment.

Depending upon the extent of your injuries, you may need surgery or another medical procedure and follow-ups with regular physical therapy sessions. You may also consult medical specialists, such as an orthopedic doctor, for ongoing care.

While you attend all of your medical appointments, a premises liability lawyer in your area can begin handling the legal components of your case by gathering important documents, including incident reports, witness statements, and photographs, and assembling those documents into a settlement demand package for the insurance company adjuster to eventually review.

Evidence that Can Help You Win a Slip and Fall Case

To win a slip and fall case, you must establish the necessary legal elements of proof. Your attorney can work to accomplish this goal by introducing favorable documentary evidence in your case and/or by retaining certain experts who can draft reports or testify as witnesses at a deposition or civil jury trial.

One way to satisfy your legal burden proof is by obtaining certain pieces of documentary evidence to support your case. Important documents may include:

  • Copies of investigation reports, incident reports, or police reports
  • Photographs of the accident scene
  • Photographs of your visible accident-related injuries
  • Lost income documentation from your employer, which shows the number of days you missed from work and the amount of compensation you lost
  • Medical treatment records
  • Medical bills
  • Statements from witnesses who observed the slip and fall occurrence firsthand
  • Video camera footage which shows the accident occurring in real time

An accident victim's lawyer may also retain a certified accident reconstructionist who can visit the scene, review photographs, speak with witnesses, and review incident reports to determine how the accident likely occurred and whether the property owner or manager was at fault.

A medical expert, on the other hand, can confirm a particular injury directly resulted from the slip and fall accident. Additionally, a medical expert may establish that the accident victim's injury or injuries are permanent.

A knowledgeable premises liability lawyer in your area can retain the experts necessary to prove your case, better enabling you to recover the monetary compensation and damages you need for your injuries.

How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help You Win a Slip and Fall Case?

How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help You Win a Slip and Fall Case

To increase your chances of winning a slip and fall accident case, always retain experienced legal counsel to represent you as quickly as possible. Some important ways a personal injury lawyer can benefit your case include:

  • Investigating your accident circumstances and retaining the necessary experts
  • Sending a spoliation letter to the property owner or their insurance company, requesting that they refrain from making repairs to the property or destroying evidence while the personal injury case is pending
  • Gathering documents to assemble into a settlement demand package
  • Drafting a settlement demand letter for the insurance company adjuster to review
  • Aggressively negotiating with insurance company representatives in pursuit of a favorable settlement offer
  • Litigating your case to an efficient resolution in the state court system

During the litigation process, your lawyer can represent you in all legal proceedings in your case, including depositions, civil jury trials, and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceedings. During these proceedings, your lawyer may make objections, introduce evidence and witness testimony, and pursue the highest monetary compensation to which you are entitled.

Recovering Monetary Damages for Your Slip and Fall Injuries

Slip and fall accident victims who can satisfy their legal burden of proof can recover various types and amounts of monetary damages, depending upon their circumstances. Since every premises liability case is different, not all accident victims will be eligible to recover the same amounts and types of monetary damages. Rather, the total damage award that an accident victim receives will likely depend on the severity of their injuries, the cost of their medical treatment, and other accident-specific circumstances. Common monetary damages that accident victims may recover include compensation for:

  • Lost earnings and loss of earning capacity
  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Mental anguish
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of spousal consortium
  • Loss of the ability to use an injured body part
  • Lost quality of life
  • Permanent disability 
  • Permanent scarring or disfigurement

A knowledgeable slip and fall accident attorney can highlight the strengths of your case, downplay any weaknesses, and pursue the maximum amount of monetary recovery you need for your injuries.

Call a Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer in Your Area Right Away

Retaining a skilled and experienced slip and fall lawyer is often the key to maximizing your total monetary award in a personal injury claim or lawsuit. However, you must act quickly to retain experienced legal counsel for representation. According to the state statute of limitations, accident victims must file a personal injury lawsuit within a certain time of their accident date. Otherwise, they waive their right to recover any monetary damages for their injuries absent an exceptional circumstance.

A knowledgeable injury lawyer can handle every aspect of your slip and fall case, including dealing with insurance company representatives and litigating your case to a conclusion in the court system. Every step of the way, your lawyer will be available to answer your questions and provide you with thoughtful, result-oriented legal representation.

Paula A. Wyatt
Premises Liability Lawyer, Paula A. Wyatt

Consultations with a slip and fall lawyer are free of charge. This initial meeting provides an opportunity for you to discuss the details of your accident with a legal professional and determine whether you can take legal action.

During the consultation, the lawyer can assess the merits of a possible case, offer legal advice, and explain potential courses of action. This commitment to providing free consultations allows you to make informed decisions about pursuing legal action without financial barriers.

Never accept insurance settlements or take other action without first consulting a San Antonio personal injury attorney near you for free.


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