A slip and fall case works similarly to most personal injury cases. It typically begins with a thorough investigation by the plaintiff’s counsel followed by potential settlement negotiations. While some slip and fall claims are resolved early in the process, litigation can be inevitable in some cases.
If you have suffered injuries in a slip and fall case, you are not alone. According to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), more than 8 million emergency room visits each year result from a fall. Unfortunately, more than 34,000 individuals died in falls at home or at work in 2016 alone, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). Reviewing the steps in a slip and fall case could help you protect your rights following a fall injury.
How the Initial Investigation Works
Every slip and fall claim begins with an investigation by the plaintiff’s attorney. The first step in most investigations involves a consultation with the injured person. During this meeting, the attorney can determine the cause of the fall as well as the severity of the injury.
From there, the attorney will perform an independent investigation into the facts. This will seek to identify the at-fault party as well as determine the amount of compensation the plaintiff might be entitled to recover. Once the attorney develops a theory of liability and identifies the appropriate amount of damages to pursue, the next step will involve negotiations.
We Can Handle Settlement Negotiations for You
While it is true that many slip and fall cases are resolved through mutual settlements, that does not mean a reasonable settlement offer will fall into your lap. Some settlements only occur as the result of lengthy negotiations and a well-built case for liability.
The negotiation process typically starts with something known as a demand letter. A demand letter is a formal form of communication from the plaintiff’s attorney to the defendant or their insurance company. A demand letter lays out the plaintiff’s theory of liability, highlights how the injury has impacted the injured party’s life and sets out a specific amount of compensation they require to resolve the claim.
In some cases, a demand letter will kick start negotiations that can bring a case to a close in short order. In other cases, negotiations could take weeks or months. Should these discussions take too long or become fruitless, a lawsuit is the next step in the claims process.
Filing a Lawsuit on Your Behalf
Litigation is not uncommon following slip and fall accidents. The process begins with the filing of a complaint, which must be served upon the property owner or occupier responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries. Once the defendant receives formal notice of the case, they have a window of opportunity to formally answer.
Once the initial pleadings are filed, the case will enter something known as the discovery phase. Discovery is the time during a lawsuit in which both sides exchange information about their case. This could involve answering written questions or exchanging documents that could be used as evidence at trial.
At the close of discovery, the parties will begin preparing for trial. In some cases, a settlement could be possible at this stage. If the case does not settle prior to the trial date, a trial is the only avenue for resolving these claims.
Most of the time, slip and fall injury cases are heard by a jury. In certain situations, the sides might agree to present the case to a judge who will ultimately render the final decision. At the close of trial, the judge or jury will determine if the defendant was responsible for the fall accident and award a set amount of damages for the plaintiff’s injuries.
Work on Your Slip-and-Fall Case with an Attorney Today
If you are considering legal action after a fall, our personal injury attorney could provide a thorough understanding of how slip and fall cases work. The team at Bernstein & Poisson has a long track record of success with representing slip and fall injury victims, and we look forward to putting that experience to use in your case.
Over the course of their career, our attorneys have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars on our clients’ behalf. If you are ready to pursue your claim for compensation, call Bernstein & Poisson for a free consultation.