Did you know that 2.2 million Americans seek emergency room care annually due to a slip and fall-related injury? And this number continues to rise with each passing year.
Unfortunately, there has also been an increase in fraudulent claims from people looking to take advantage of the system by frivolously suing, which has led to harsher guidelines for granting claimants compensation for slip and fall accidents. For those who are truly injured in a hazardous environment because of the negligence of the owner, having an experienced premises liability attorney is essential in understanding your legal options and standing a chance in winning your claim.
Immediately Following a Slip and Fall Incident
A slip and fall incident may be the catalyst that gives rise to a lawsuit, but the case technically begins as soon as a victim seeks medical attention for their injuries. Even if you feel like you do not require medical treatment, it is essential that you consult a doctor or physician immediately following a slip and fall accident. This is important for two reasons:
Preparing for a Slip and Fall Case
Once a doctor has evaluated the extent of your injuries, your attorney will begin preparing for your case by investigating the scene of the accident. Every detail, even the seemingly minute ones, are noted and documented by the lawyer for use in the case.
One technique attorneys use to investigate the scene of a slip and fall accident is called the Variable Incidence Tribometer (VIT). The VIT accurately and scientifically determines the slip resistance ratio of a walkway surface, and how much of a role it may have played on the incident.
Lawyers also compile testimonies of eyewitnesses that back up the victim’s statement that the establishment acted negligently and should be held liable. If witnesses are hard to track down, video camera surveillance, photographs taken at the time of the incident, and sworn statements by the defendants may be utilized to prove that the environment was indeed hazardous.
Although a slip and fall accident can fluster and embarrass you, causing you to not think straight, it is important to remember to take pictures of the scene and write down witnesses’ contact information if you can. These will be hugely helpful pieces of evidence for your attorney in a future claim.
Settling a Slip and Fall Claim Outside or Inside of the Court System
As with any civil cases, a slip and fall lawsuit can be resolved outside of court, which is generally cheaper for both parties. A lawyer will try to negotiate an out-of-court settlement during this phase of litigation; however, the defendant may not agree to the terms put forth by your attorney.
Generally, slip and fall lawsuits are only settled out of court if a lawyer can prove a prima facie case to the defendants, meaning the matter of who is at fault can be clearly determined “at first glance,” or evident based on the facts. If prima facie cannot be proven, and a defendant refuses to settle, then the case will have to be resolved in court.
A successful slip and fall claim will prove to the judge that the defendant acted negligently, which directly led to the victim’s injury. The owner of the establishment will try to suggest that they did not act negligently and that the victim is partly or wholly to blame for their own injuries. It is your attorney’s job to discredit the defendant’s claims, and expose the different types and severities of injuries sustained by the victim because of the negligence of the defendant.
If the defendant is deemed to be at fault for the slip and fall accident, you may be eligible for the following recoverable damages:
With so many frivolous lawsuits out there, it can be difficult to receive fair compensation from a slip and fall claim without legal representation. If you were truly injured by slipping or falling, consult a slip and fall attorney to learn about your legal options and set your case in motion.
Meet Colorado Workers' Compensation, Personal Injury and Insurance Dispute Attorney R. Mack Babcock
Prior to founding The Babcock Law Firm, LLC, R. Mack Babcock spent many years on the other side of workers' compensation , car accidents, personal injury and insurance disputes representing some of the largest insurance companies and corporations in Colorado as an attorney at a midsize insurance defense firm.
Babcock is a member of the Colorado and Denver Bar Associations, the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association and the Workers' Compensation Educational Association. In early 2008, he was elected as the Colorado House District 43 Committee Chairperson for the Douglas County Colorado Democratic Party. In connection with this position, he is responsible for finding a candidate(s) to run for House District 43, overseeing the campaign(s), organizing volunteers, and also sits on the executive committee for the Douglas County Democratic Party.