When to Hire a Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer
Slip and fall accidents are considered a type of personal injury law. Because it is one of the most common types of personal injury, it is often divided into a separate category, with some attorneys specializing in slip and fall accident cases. There are several variants of slip and fall cases. The most common types include slipping on an improperly marked wet floor, falling down a defective set of stairs or even tripping on uneven or damaged ground. As long as the injury occurred outside of your property and was not the result of negligence on your part, you have the right to take legal action against whoever owns the property.
Proving negligence during a slip and fall case is often more challenging than other personal injury cases. This is because the damages from falls are not as pronounced as other cases, such as auto accidents. With the help of a slip and fall accident attorney, you have a greater chance of winning your case and getting fair compensation for your damages.
Responsibilities of a Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer
A slip and fall accident lawyer has many responsibilities, but their main goals are to prove negligence on behalf of whoever you are accusing and assessing how much you are owed in damages. With any type of personal injury case, assessing damages is an involved process. The most obvious damages comes from medical bills resulting from the injury. This includes any consultations and examinations as well as the cost of treatment or medication. You can also include the cost of physical therapy, for particularly bad falls.
In addition to medical costs, your attorney will help you determine if there were other damages. For example, if you had to take time off from work or were unable to look for a job due to your injury, you are allowed to claim additional damages. Because these damages are more abstract, it is often hard to prove them without the assistance of a slip and fall accident lawyer. Your lawyer can use not only their legal experience, but also reach out to experts to provide testimony backing up your claim.
Proving Negligence in a Slip and Fall Case
A slip and fall accident lawyer spends the majority of his or her time gathering evidence to prove you were not at fault for the accident. This is much harder than it sounds. The biggest issue is proving the owner should have known the ground at or around his or her property was at risk. For example, if the accident occurred because of a wet floor, the defendant will argue the floor was only recently cleaned, and there was not enough time to put up a sign before the accident took place. If the ground is uneven or damaged, the property owner may insist the damage is new and occurred either after your accident, or imply you were the one who initially caused the damage, making you responsible for your injury.
Proving negligence on your own is challenging, especially if you suffered a serious injury from the accident. By hiring an attorney, you are working with an expert who knows exactly what to look for and what type of evidence best proves your case. Your attorney can reach out for witness testimony and knows how to request additional evidence, such as logs from security cameras. A slip and fall attorney is also familiar with business codes, which can prove the property owner was in violation of the law and at fault for the accident occurring.
Finding a Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer
You do not want to rush into hiring an attorney. Slip and fall cases are often dragged out by the defendant, so you must choose a lawyer you are comfortable working with for a long period of time. It is equally important you choose an attorney you are confident with. There are several ways to find a slip and fall lawyer in your area. One option is to speak with friends and family to see if they are familiar with any attorneys in the area. Slip and fall cases are relatively common, so it is likely someone within your social circle can at least point you in the right direction.
Another option is to look online for an attorney in your area. Start by looking for generic personal injury attorneys, then see whether they are specialized in slip and fall cases. While you are searching online, you can also go through the American Bar Association and Legal Services Corporation to find a list of qualified attorneys in your state, though it may take longer to find a personal injury lawyer through this list.
Once you find a potential lawyer, take the time to get a consultation. During the consultation, your lawyer will ask you questions about your case, but you also have the opportunity to ask your own questions.
A good question to ask is how much it will cost to hire the lawyer. In most cases, your lawyer is paid a percentage of what you earn. Make sure you understand exactly how much he or she receives, as well as if there are other fees you must pay, such as filing costs or research expenses. You can also ask your lawyer about his or her general experience with cases. If your lawyer has worked a similar case, ask how long it took to resolve the case, and what the client received in payment. Finally, ask whether your lawyer handles the case personally, or if he or she works with other partners.