When a client seeks a consultation with a slip and fall attorney, one of the first questions they often ask is about whether they'll be able to pursue a slip and fall claim. There are usually a few issues that have to be sorted out before that can be answered so let's look at them.
Identifying a Liable Party
The very first issue you have to consider is whether anyone can be held liable for your injuries. After that, there's still the question of who might be held liable.
In some cases, the answers are fairly straightforward. Someone who was in a big box store as a customer during its regular hours, for example, can point to the store's ownership as the party responsible for keeping the premises safe.
This gets a little more complex when there are concerns about exactly who is responsible for a particular location. For example, some cities require shop owners to take care of sidewalks in front of their locations. This can lead to disputes between shops and municipalities over whether the liable party is the business or the government.
Invitation, while not always necessary, sometimes features as an issue. That's especially the case if the property was private and posted. If someone wasn't invited or encouraged to come onto the premises, that may shift things a bit. It doesn't, however, automatically get the property's owner off the hook.
A slip and fall lawyer also wants to see medically documented evidence of injuries. Notably, the injuries should have to require some degree of medical care, such as surgery or having a broken bone set. Attorneys often encourage their clients to visit specialists and chiropractors to document and report what their injuries are.
Damages include other losses, too. Loss of past earnings and future earning potential are both common claims. Expenses arising from physical therapy should be included, also. Depending on the nature of the injuries, loss of enjoyment of life may be included as a form of compensable damages.
Filing a Claim
Most cases are started by the slip and fall attorney sending a letter of intent to the at-fault party or their insurance company. This letter includes an amount of compensation to make things right. The insurer will have a claims adjuster review the validity of the case. If the adjuster believes the claim is legitimate, they will make a counteroffer. If there's a rejection, suing may be your only remaining option.