While this post may provide you with a basic overview, it is not a replacement for the expertise of our lawyers here at Umbrella Injury Law. We encourage you to contact us after reading through this information to ensure your questions are fully answered and to protect your rights as you navigate your personal injury claim.
There are pros and cons to every decision in life. When you have suffered an injury, it may seem overwhelming knowing the right path to choose when you are unsure of the law. While a lawyer can guide you through the legal aspects, there are other issues to consider as well:
- Lawsuits take time.
- There is no guarantee of a financial settlement.
- Lawsuits can take an emotional toll on your personal and professional life.
Before you proceed, you may want to consider whether there are any alternative solutions to litigation.
The following information covers some of the legal aspects to consider when deciding whether it is worth it to you to begin a lawsuit.
Property owners are not always responsible if someone is injured on their property. Whether you’re filing an insurance claim or a lawsuit, you’ll need to show:
- The property owner knew or should have known of the danger
- The property owner did not take reasonable actions to remove the danger or protect others from harm
- If not for the property owner’s negligence, you would not be injured
According to the law, owners owe certain responsibilities to those who may find themselves on the owner’s property. If owners fail to maintain a certain standard of safety (keeping their property free from dangerous conditions or defects), they may be in breach of that responsibility owed, and can be found liable for injuries suffered.
Whether your lawsuit is settled between lawyers, adjusters, a mediator or a judge, generally, the factors that will be paramount are:
- Whether the property owner acted carefully so that the hazard did not exist.
- Whether you caused your own fall by not seeing the condition or hazard that caused the fall when you should have seen it.
- Whether the property owner knew about the potential situation that caused your slip and fall either by causing it or failing to address it, and whether a reasonable person would have acted otherwise had they discovered a potential hazard.
- Whether the potential situation existed for a length of time where the property owner had reasonable time to address it.
- Whether an injury was foreseeable as a potential hazard if the situation was not addressed.
What factors should I consider in making my decision?
A better question you might ask yourself is “what information would a lawyer need to know so they can advise me about the chances of success of a potential lawsuit?” We suggest the following:
Document the scene
As soon as possible after the injury, write down what you recall about the accident while it is still fresh in your mind. This information should include any noticeable defects in the surface where you fell (uneven or broken tile or pavement, build-up of ice or snow); whether warning signs were present, and, if applicable, any contributing weather conditions.
Clothing & shoes
Document the shoes and clothing worn at the time of the accident. Keep the clothing and shoes aside and do not wear them until after you have spoken to a lawyer to determine your path forward.
If you fell on the property of a business, write down the efforts made by any staff or employees to assist you. If any comments were made as to fault or liability, note those. If an employee offered to pay medical expenses, you may be able to use this information.
If there were any witnesses, ask them for their contact information.
Document your injuries
It is also important to take photographs of where you fell and any injuries. Go to the hospital and/or your doctor as soon as possible following the accident to document your injuries and treatment. Make sure to keep a diary of your healing process as well.
Report the accident
Report the accident to the property owner so an incident report can be generated, and important details can be recorded when the details are fresh.
Maintain your receipts for any out-of-pocket expenses you incur (ie: treatment, medication, specialty devices such as crutches, etc).
So, now what?
There is a lot of information to consider when you are trying to determine whether someone else is at fault for the injuries you sustained. Under the law of ‘premises liability’, when you’ve been injured as a result of negligence, you may be entitled to certain types of compensation. Insurance companies are making the same assessments as you or your lawyer and, should your situation warrant, will make an offer of settlement based on their professional judgment of what a court might offer in an effort to divert your case proceeding to trial (as it is more expensive for all parties to involve the court).
We hope this summary answers some of your questions and gives you some insight as to what we will want to discuss with you when contacting our office. Whether you are sure you want to proceed, or still on the fence, contact the lawyers at Umbrella Injury Law to discuss your accident and address the questions you have and assess the strength of the circumstances and evidence of your situation.
At Umbrella Injury Law, We Got You Covered.