When you are on someone else’s property, you typically have every right to expect that the people in charge of maintaining the property (often the owner) has taken the appropriate precautions to ensure that your visit will be safe from accidents with avoidable hazards, such as improper maintenance, failure to warn of dangers, and more. This obligation is called premise liability, and it means that the landowner is liable for certain torts that can take place on their premise, and therefore entitle the victim to seek compensation for the party who assumes premise liability in the accident.
While there are clear laws and rights in place for these situations, unfortunately, there is no simple way for a victim to seek the compensation that they rightfully deserve. In any situation where there is a liable party, there will always be an attempt by the liable party to pay out as little money as possible. This is where a personal injury attorney comes in. Your attorney will be able to help you build a compelling case for a personal injury settlement, and if they are unable to negotiate an out-of-court settlement, will be able to help you through the lawsuit process with the Florida courts.
Find an Attorney Through 1-800-Injured
After an accident, it can feel like an impossible task to dig through directories of personal injury attorneys, make contact with a lot of personal injury law firms, and hope that you can find an attorney who is both available and willing to take your case. Fortunately, 1-800-Injured makes this process easy for victims of personal injuries, and we will be happy to help you connect with a lawyer as soon as possible.
1-800-Injured is an attorney and medical referral service. The sooner you contact us, the sooner you will be able to find an attorney through our referral service that is available to take your case so that you can start working towards getting the money that you are entitled to today. Read more about slip and fall accidents in Fort Myers, and contact us now to find legal representation for your case.
What Is a Slip and Fall?
As the name implies, a slip and fall accident is one where the victim slips, trips, or otherwise falls and is injured due to a hazard on someone else’s property. The nature of the accident can vary, and these types of tort cases can be brought against a private citizen, a business, a municipality, and even the federal government. However, the rights and process for each of these different types of defendants vary, and it will be important for you to have an attorney representing your case that understands what makes each unique, and how to approach the case in order to maximize your award.
The most common types of slip and fall accidents include the following:
- Icy walkways (uncommon in Florida, but very common in northern states with colder climates)
- Wet floors due to spills, leaks and even wet floors after a cleaning that do not have appropriate warning signs
- Broken stair treads or handrails
- Hazards from construction, roadwork, or work done to pedestrian walkways
- Collapsing or otherwise structurally-compromised floors
- Products left in the middle of aisles at shopping areas
Of course, there are many different types of situations where someone may be entitled to compensation after a fall on someone else’s property. If you are uncertain about your own situation, contact us now and connect with an attorney.
What To Expect When Seeking Compensation After a Slip and Fall
If you are not working with an attorney, you can expect that the representative insurance company of the responsible party will attempt to pin fault on you, lead you to believe that you do not have many options, or fear that they will file a countersuit against you if you seek any further action. These are intimidation tactics and they should be combated with the support of an experienced personal injury attorney. Remember that an insurance company needs to focus on protecting their financial interest over all else, which comes at the expense of the victim who is seeking a fair amount of money for their accident.
Claims Investigation Process
After you have initiated your claim, the insurance company will assign a claims adjuster to your case, who will spend the next weeks investigating every aspect of the accident in order to determine how much they will offer you for a settlement. During this process, they will be paying particular attention to any way to assign fault to you, thus reducing their financial obligation through pure comparative negligence. Every statement and document that you submit will be analyzed in the hopes that they can use innocent misstatements or errors against you.
When you have an attorney who is the primary point of contact for the insurance adjuster during this time, you can focus on your recovery with confidence. Trying to understand what you can or can not say during the claims process is just another stressful aspect of this entire process, but you can trust your lawyer to thoughtfully prepare each statement with their legal experience in order to avoid these issues.
After the claims investigation process, the insurance company will make an initial offer for a settlement. You will likely be shocked to see how different their offer is from the calculations that your attorney has arrived at during their own investigation. This is, again, because the insurance company is entirely focused on saving money, NOT focused on paying victims what they deserve.
When you are working without an attorney, the insurance company will attempt to convince you that there are no better options without a long, drawn-out legal battle against their team of lawyers, which is understandably intimidating to think about. However, this isn’t the case. The reality is that this offer is just a starting point to negotiations, which your attorney will take up as soon as the investigation is completed.
Settlement or Filing a Lawsuit
Florida has a 4-year statute of limitations for personal injuries, meaning that you and your attorney will have four years from the date of your injury (and longer, in rare and specific instances) to either settle your case or file a lawsuit. If you partner with an attorney soon after your accident, then they will hopefully be able to either negotiate a settlement OR recognize that negotiations will not work out, and move towards filing a lawsuit early.
There is no easy way to determine how long a personal injury case will take without a close look at the entire situation, so getting the answer to this question should be left for conversations between you and your lawyer.