We enter stores, restaurants, and other public spaces with the expectation that they will be safe. This proves to be correct in the overwhelming majority of circumstances. There are times, however, when the owner or management of a building fails to keep it safe for visitors. The result can be a slip and fall which leaves a victim seriously injured. Understanding what to do immediately following such a fall can make a difference in your ability to recover damages. We are, therefore, writing this article to provide insight as to how you should proceed. If you are in need of assistance, contact our office to speak with a lawyer.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention After a Slip and Fall
The first step anyone should take after suffering an injury is to seek immediate medical attention. This is true in cases involving a slip and fall and you should seek immediate care even if you do not believe that you are seriously injured. If you fail to seek immediate care, then the defense will often argue that your injuries were not the result of the subject accident. They will likely argue that, instead, your injuries were the result of some event that occurred in between the accident and the time at which you sought care. This can lead to you receiving a reduced settlement or, worse, potentially nothing if the case goes to trial and the jury believes the defense’s argument. By seeking immediate care, you can foreclose such arguments by the defense.
If you are seriously injured, an ambulance will likely be called. If you do not believe you have been seriously hurt, or if an ambulance has not been called, then it is crucial that you go to the hospital on your own accord. This is, in part, due to the fact that serious injuries can initially seem minor. After a slip and fall, for example, one may find that their back is “a little sore” and they believe it will clear up after a day or two. They may find that the injury stiffens, becomes more painful, and only gets worse as time goes on. What was thought to be a sore back may in fact turn out to be a serious spinal injury. By seeking immediate care, you help to ensure against the possibility that you are letting a serious injury worsen.
Retain an Attorney Rather Than Dealing With the Defendant’s Insurance
It is common practice for a defendant’s insurance carrier to contact someone immediately after an injury. When this happens, you can expect the insurance adjuster to attempt to negotiate with you directly. They will also likely claim that you should not retain an attorney and that having counsel will not increase the potential value of your settlement. Unfortunately, some people take the adjuster’s advice and forego counsel. The fact of the matter, however, is that the insurance adjusters are employees of the insurance company. Their goal is to get you to settle for the lowest amount possible and they are not charged with protecting your interests. An attorney, on the other hand, is your advocate and it is their goal to get you the largest settlement possible. It is common for counsel to obtain a settlement offer in situations where the insurer attempts to initially deny liability.
It is suggested that you retain an attorney immediately after being discharged from the hospital and that you do not interact with the defendant’s insurance carrier. Counsel will quickly inform the insurer of the representation. The insurer will then deal with your counsel directly. This will allow you to focus on your recovery and getting your life back on track. Counsel will keep you informed of all settlement offers and give you objective advice as to when it is time to settle.
Keep a Journal and Follow the Advice of Your Doctor
It is important that you start keeping a journal and chronicle how the accident is impacting your life. This includes daily logs of how you felt for the day, how the injury has limited your activities, etc. It is also important to log the amount of time you spend traveling to and from medical appointments and other injury-related obligations that are causing disruption to your routine. All of these issues will be important to the calculation of your pain and suffering. Maintaining a journal can aid your attorney when they are preparing a settlement demand to send to the insurance adjuster. Should your case go to trial, then your journal will be helpful in painting a full picture of the situation for the jury.
Understand That Your Case May Take Time to Settle
Many slip and fall victims wish to obtain a quick settlement and this is understandable. It is important that you understand that the process can take some time, however, as you should not settle before your long-term prognosis is reasonably known. Accepting a settlement out of a belief that you will make a full recovery can result in you receiving an inadequate amount if your injuries prove to be longer-lasting than originally thought. Once your long-term prognosis is better known, then your attorney will prepare a settlement demand which includes money for future care, future lost wages, and future pain and suffering. This will help to make sure that you have the money you need as your life moves forward.
Contact a Florida Slip and Fall Attorney
If you have been injured on another’s property, you must take immediate steps to protect your interests. One of these steps is to contact an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. Our firm is dedicated to protecting those who have been injured through no fault of their own and we will make your case a priority. This includes staying in regular contact with you and making sure you know what to expect as your case moves forward. Contact us online or call us at 800-780-8607 to speak with a Florida slip and fall attorney.