When you get injured in a slip and fall accident, one of the first things you need to do is find out if you have a case. If you do, you may be entitled to financial compensation, but you may also need to act quickly to protect your legal rights.
If you have a case, you will also need to learn what you can expect along the way. Knowing what to expect will allow you to be proactive and make informed decisions as you move forward. So, what can you expect in a Florida slip and fall case?
What You Can Expect During Your Slip and Fall Case in Florida
For the purposes of this article, we are assuming that you have made the decision to hire a lawyer. Hiring a lawyer is crucial for protecting your legal rights after a slip and fall accident. Without a lawyer, the unfortunate reality is that you stand virtually no chance of recovering the financial compensation you deserve.
Assuming you hire an experienced lawyer to represent you, here is what you can expect when you file a claim to recover your losses after a slip and fall accident in Florida:
1. The Property Owner (or Tenant) Will Deny Liability
Even if you hire a lawyer to represent you, the property owner (or tenant) will probably deny liability initially. This is fairly standard, as most companies will try to avoid paying for slip and fall accident victims’ injuries. The owner or tenant may even try to blame you for your own injuries. If this happens, you should not let it frustrate you, as there are still several steps in the process.
2. Your Lawyer Will Conduct a Thorough Investigation
As soon as possible, your lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation of your slip and fall accident case. This includes examining the scene of the accident. Your lawyer may try to obtain security camera footage, eyewitness testimony, property maintenance records and various other forms of evidence as well. There will usually be several forms of evidence available—as long as you contact a lawyer in time.
3. You Will Need to Focus on Your Recovery
While your lawyer is investigating your accident and building your case for just compensation, you will need to focus on your recovery. This means attending your doctor’s appointments and following your doctor’s advice. Rest if you need to rest. Go to physical therapy if you need to go to physical therapy. At this point, you should be doing everything you can to recover as quickly as possible.
4. Your Lawyer Will File Your Claim with the Property Owner’s (or Tenant’s) Insurance Company
After investigating your accident, your lawyer will file a claim with the property owner’s (or tenant’s) insurance company. Nearly all slip and fall accident cases involve insurance claims.
5. The Insurance Company Will Investigate
At this stage, the insurance company will conduct its own investigation. This will take some time, and it is important to be patient at this stage. If the insurance company is taking too long, your lawyer will take appropriate action on your behalf.
6. The Insurance Company Could Likely Deny Liability
After conducting its investigation, the insurance company will likely deny liability as well. This is also fairly standard. The insurance companies investigate with their best interests in mind, and they aren’t going to accept liability unless they are convinced that it is in their best interests to do so.
7. Your Lawyer Will Work with the Insurance Company on Your Behalf
As the process moves forward, your lawyer will work with the insurance company on your behalf. Your lawyer will use the evidence he or she gathered to prove liability—and, if the insurance company acknowledges liability when faced with this evidence, your lawyer will enter into settlement negotiations. During these negotiations, your lawyer will seek just compensation for all of your injury-related losses—including your medical bills, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.
8. You May Receive a Settlement Offer
While there are no guarantees, most successful slip and fall accident cases are resolved via settlement. If the insurance company makes an offer, your lawyer will discuss the offer with you one-on-one.
9. Your Lawyer Will Help You Make Informed Decisions About Settlement
During this discussion, your lawyer will help you decide whether you should accept the offer or reject it. If you need more time, your lawyer will give you more time. This is an extremely important decision—once you accept a settlement, you can’t go back and ask for more.
10. Your Lawyer Will Take Your Case to Court in Florida if Necessary
Finally, if you don’t receive a fair settlement offer, your lawyer will take your slip and fall case to court. In court, your lawyer will present evidence of both liability and damages, and the insurance company will present its defense. At the end, the judge or jury will render a decision. If you are satisfied with the decision, you can move on with your life. If you aren’t satisfied, you can talk to your lawyer about filing an appeal.
What If You Don’t Hire a Lawyer to Represent You?
As we said, all of this assumes that you hire a lawyer to represent you. So, what if you don’t?
Your case will start out the same—the property owner or tenant will deny liability. But, that will most likely be the end of the story. If you aren’t able to investigate, if you aren’t able to get in touch with the insurance company, and if you aren’t able to prove that you are entitled to financial compensation, you won’t recover the financial compensation you deserve.
Discuss Your Case with a Florida Slip & Fall Lawyer for Free
If you need to know more about what to expect from your slip and fall case in Florida, we invite you to get in touch. To speak with a lawyer as soon as possible, please call 800-780-8607 or request a free consultation online today.