Slip and fall accidents are a unique type of personal injury case. Often, general liability and insurance rules go out the window, leaving confusion to the injured party. Feeling “stuck” with extensive medical bills and other damages, people become tempted to listen to any advice given or found online. Instead, finding a personal injury lawyer to assist you during this difficult time often proves worthwhile.
At Hershey Law, our experts all too often meet with victims of a slip and fall that believed they had no case. These same individuals relied on the stores from acquaintances or legal advice from out-of-field-attorney. Sometimes our personal injury excerpts can help. Other times, the victim waited too long and passed the statute of limitations.
Understanding negligence basics.
The legal rights of a victim in a slip and fall are based on the property owner’s negligence where the accident occurred. However, negligence doesn’t mean malintent. Instead, negligence refers to the accident being traced to carelessness.
There are no grounds for legal action without a direct correlation from their responsibility to you and your injury.
However, you may not be aware of the fine filament connecting their responsibility to you. That’s okay! It’s your lawyer’s job to determine causality and correlation. Meanwhile, you can work on doing what you can to help build your case as strongly as possible. Helping to guide you through the early days, we’re presenting some answers to our most frequently asked slip and fall questions.
Everything You Wanted to Know After Your Slip and Fall
As you deal with trying to set up medical appointments and filling out forms for job leave, you’re going to have questions. Remember, you’re not alone. Many of these queries are typical and quickly overwhelming without knowing who you can turn to. To help guide you during these early days, here are a some of the answer to our most frequently asked slip and fall questions.
Who will pay my medical bills?
Understandably, this concern tops the list. If you’re seriously injured, you’re going to need medical help. The problem is that this is not an all-inclusive answer. Many variables come into play with a slip and fall liability.
In the case of an automobile accident, there is almost always at least one insurance company involved. Depending on the state and if it follows a no-fault rule, you can use that policy to cover your bills until it exhausts.
With a slip and fall, unless you have your own personal insurance, there isn’t an immediate solution. After your attorney obtains the property owner’s liability policy, it’s possible that med pay is attached. The issue then becomes proving that your injury meets the stipulations of the policy, which your attorney will handle on your behalf. This ambiguity means that you’re responsible for your medical bills, at least upfront.
Your personal injury lawyer will direct you to medical providers accepting a LOP (Letter of Protection) in place of instant payment. With a LOP, the provider agrees to waive payment at the time of service and accept the balance in full when your case settles. However, not every provider accepts LOPs. In this instance, you would be responsible for payment, or your insurance will pay for treatment, and you’d pay copays and deductibles.
Can I lose my job after my accident?
After a slip and fall, you may have a serious injury requiring extensive medical treatment, forcing you to take time off work. In some cases, the doctor may suggest you don’t return until your injuries have healed.
There are laws protecting your job during this time. If you are fired because of missed work due to your accident, your attorney will discuss your rights. Whether filling a wrongful termination case in addition to your slip and fall becomes an option, depends on the facts.
It’s crucial to note that if you sustain your job, your employers are not required to pay you for your time off. Unless you have paid leave accrued, you will still feel the hardship of lost wages. These financial hits, as well as any bonuses, benefits, and other income you lost due to the accident, can be recovered in your final compensation.
Can my actions keep me from collecting compensation?
Proving fault in a slip and fall situation is tricky. The facts have to align, showing your injury results from direct negligence from the property owner or their representative.
That said, unless you were illegally on the property, behaving erratically, or under the influence at the time of the accident, your actions probably weren’t the problem.
Property owners are responsible for preventing dangers and safety hazards. However, your behavior immediately leading up to the accident plays a big part in how far that duty spreads. If you slipped on an unmarked wet floor in a store, negligence is easy to prove. But if the floor was labeled and cordoned off with tape, and you went through it anyway, the odds wouldn’t be in your favor.
As long as you have a legitimate reason to be where you were and were reasonably careful, behaviors shouldn’t be held against you. However, California follows the pure comparative negligence law, which generally allows parties to collect full damages even when a fault is present.
Should I talk to the insurance company after my accident?
Any time an injury follows an accident, insurance companies are involved. Following the paper trail correctly means reporting the incident within their time limits. The trick is to say just enough to let them know you were injured without going into detail.
Insurance adjusters are trained to ask specific questions and handle injured parties carefully. Agents know what to ask and what words to listen for, putting you at fault or lesser fault on their policyholder. The best path is to contact them with your personal injury lawyer present.
How can I help prove my case?
If you’re injured, you’re injured. But unless you are severely hurt to the point of impairment, you can start protecting yourself immediately.
Taking pictures at the scene of the accident and any visible injuries sustained is crucial. Further, be aware of witnesses. Obtaining their contact information, including their home address, is also extremely important. Stay calm and talk with law enforcement recalling any and all details. Emotional recalls often cause important details to be overlooked. This behavior could also be used against you in court as the defendant may say you acted irrationally.
Be sure to get treatment, even if you don’t feel immediate injury. Many times, especially with muscular and spinal damage, the effects can take days or weeks to become apparent. Immediate medical treatment is the first step of documentation for your case. Most of all, follow all of your doctors’ orders, even if you disagree with them. If you disagree strongly with their recommendation, such as a particular medication they prescribe for you, talk to the physician about other alternatives. If a compromise can’t be reached, talk to your personal injury lawyer before making definitive decisions that could hurt your case.
Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer
While these FAQs encompass most of our clients’ main concerns, at Hershey Law, we understand that every situation is unique. Because of this, questions arise that may not be as streamlined. If you take away one piece of advice from this article, it’s never to go at it alone. Let the experts at Hershey Law help you handle the tricky legalities of dealing with a slip and fall accident.
Contact us today to schedule your free consultation by calling (310) 929-2190.