If a fall on someone else’s residential or commercial property causes injuries, you should consider hiring a Fishers slip and fall lawyer. If you fell because of someone else’s negligence, you might have the right to collect compensation.
An attorney can help you understand your rights. They know the complex laws related to personal injury and how to get the maximum settlement for your case.
Should You Hire an Attorney for a Slip and Fall Accident Case?
Slip and fall accidents can happen any place and at any time. The resulting injuries might be minor or quite serious. Sometimes it’s a matter of being careless and not paying attention to where you’re going. Other times, falls happen because of the property owner’s negligence.
Determining liability is key to your personal injury case. If your injury is minor, you can possibly handle filing the claim on your own. But if your injuries are serious and the other party is clearly at fault, it’s important to have an experienced attorney familiar with Indiana’s negligence laws.
Some things that a slip and fall lawyer in Fishers, IN, can do for you include the following:
Establishing Fault for Your Slip and Fall
Establishing liability is one of the biggest challenges in any personal injury case. An experienced slip and fall accident lawyer will look at the evidence and determine whose fault the fall was. They know the difference between your slipping or tripping on your own and slipping or tripping on a surface that was due to the owner’s negligence.
Gathering Evidence and Talking to Witnesses
You should already have some evidence by the time you visit a slip and fall law firm — for instance, the accident report from the property owner and the names and contact information of any witnesses. Hopefully, you will have pictures of the area where you fell that show any potential causes for your fall.
Your lawyer will talk to witnesses as well as find people who may have fallen in the same area before. They may take additional pictures to show that the property hasn’t been repaired since the previous accidents. The more evidence you have, the stronger your case will be.
Ensuring the Claim Is Completed Correctly and Filed on Time
Making mistakes on the documents used to file a personal injury claim can cost you valuable time. Every state has a statute of limitations or time frame during which you must file your complaint. In Indiana, the statute of limitations (Code § 34-11-2-4. Section 34-11-2-4) for personal injury claims is two years from the time of the accident. If you fail to meet this time limit, you will lose your right to file a claim and therefore receive compensation..
The laws are different for cases against the City of Fishers, Indiana or Hamilton County. Make sure you follow the guidelines for filing a slip and fall claim against any business or governmental entity.
Making Sure You Don’t Accept an Unfair Settlement
Often, the property owner’s insurance company will try to reach you before you have time to find a Fishers slip and fall attorney. They know that most people are naïve about personal injury law. They might offer you a settlement that is much lower than you need or deserve for your injuries.
A Fishers slip and fall lawyer knows the many common tactics that insurance companies use to keep from paying you a fair settlement. The lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company for you. They will work to get a settlement that covers your current costs, as well as any bills or loss of earnings your injuries will cause in the future.
Representing You If Your Case Goes to Trial
Most personal injury cases get settled without going to court. It benefits both sides when your attorney can reach an agreement without paying court costs. If your attorney and the insurance company can’t reach an agreement, your case will go to trial.
An experienced slip and fall accident lawyer in Fishers will know the facts of your case. They will have extensive experience and a record of success at winning similar claims for their clients.
Examples of Slip and Fall Accidents
There are many causes of slips and falls, including:
- Liquid spills on the walking surface or ground
- Lack of ice or snow removal from the parking lots or walkways
- Tripping hazards from items left in the walkway
- Poorly lit areas
- Broken or absent handrails
- Broken or uneven steps
- Broken pavement or blacktop
The property owner is negligent if they fail to repair or maintain floors, walkways, or handrails. They might also be negligent for failing to keep water off their floors or for not removing snow or ice where their customers access their business.
In order to have a valid slip and fall claim, you must prove that the property owner’s negligence is what led to your injury and your damages. You can do this through the following:
- Witness statements
- Accident reports
- Video surveillance
- Medical reports
Your Fishers, Indiana, slip and fall attorney will use the appropriate evidence to build your case.
What to Do Immediately After a Slip and Fall Accident
Perhaps you are a resident or just visiting Fishers, but a slip and fall accident can happen anywhere, at any time, and isn’t something that you expect or plan for. It might leave you feeling confused and unsure about what to do. Knowing the steps to take can make the difference in whether you get the maximum recovery for your losses.
1. Get Medical Attention
Go to a hospital in Fishers right away, even if you don’t feel like your injuries are that serious. Some injuries aren’t fully apparent until hours or even days later.
You also need to document your injuries from the time of your accident. Otherwise, the insurance company might claim you already had your injuries or that you got them in some other way. Getting immediate medical treatment confirms the timing of your injuries with that of the accident.
2. Examine the Area Where You Fell
Specifically, look for what caused you to fall. Was there something blocking the walkway? Water or something else spilled on the floor? Or was there a rug that wasn’t secured to the floor? If you don’t look for the cause of your fall immediately after it happens, the evidence might disappear quickly. You might never have a second chance to capture proof the accident wasn’t your fault.
3. Take Pictures
Use your cell phone to take pictures of the area and the exact place where the fall occurred. Photos make the most powerful evidence since they back up what you describe in court.
4. Look for Witnesses
Get the names and contact information of anyone who can verify the details of your accident. You can also ask them what they saw. Take this information your legal representative when you have your initial consultation. They will follow up and obtain a detailed statement in writing.
There aren’t always eyewitnesses to a slip and fall, and they aren’t always essential for winning your claim. However, when they are available, they add validity to your version of events.
5. Insist on Filing an Accident Report
If your slip and fall happens at a business, fill out an accident report with the Fishers police department. Give a simple description of what happened and request a copy. This prevents the other side from claiming you didn’t take your accident seriously when it happened.
6. Keep a Written Record of Details
It’s easy to forget little details that could end up being a major issue when trying to prove your case. The property owner’s insurance company wants to pay you as little as possible. They might use your words against you or claim you said something that you didn’t.
As traumatizing as a fall can be, your memory of what happened can fade quickly. Write down all of the details of the accident. Keep a record of your injuries, medical treatments, and symptoms. Your lawyer will use your records to help support your claim.
7. Contact a Slip and Fall Accident Attorney Right Away
It isn’t unusual for people suffering from injuries after a fall to think the insurance company is there to help them. The insurance company wants to pay you as little as possible. They don’t care if their client is responsible for your accident and they don’t care about your mounting medical bills. They want to come out of the claim with as much of their money intact as possible.
An experienced lawyer has negotiated many cases like yours before. The best way to protect yourself from the insurance company’s tactics is by hiring a reputable Fishers slip and fall attorney. They can negotiate with the insurance company and know what information to provide and what to keep to themselves.
An attorney also knows the process for building a case and the time limits for getting everything filed. They will make sure you don’t miss any deadlines so that you get the best possible settlement for your claim.
Who is Responsible in a Slip and Fall Accident?
Slip and falls are common, particularly involving older adults. These accidents occur through no fault of their own. Despite the number of injuries caused by falls, these cases remain complex and difficult to prove. The biggest challenge is proving that the property owner or someone working for them was responsible for the accident and your injuries.
Property owners typically use three defenses to avoid liability:
1. Open and Obvious Doctrine
This simply means that the danger was “open and obvious” and should have been avoided by the victim. However, the state of Indiana does not accept this doctrine as the determining defense in premises liability lawsuits. Instead, the state’s comparative fault and assumption of risk laws cover these situations.
2. Assumption of Risk
This defense only applies to some cases.
3. Comparative Fault
Under the state’s comparative fault laws, victims of slip and fall accidents cannot recover compensation if they are deemed liable for more than 50%. Also, those who are a percentage at fault can receive compensation at a reduced rate that is equivalent to their degree of liability.
For example, if you are found 25% at fault for the slip and fall accident and you are awarded $100,000, you will receive $75,000. The 25% liability is subtracted from the final amount of compensation.
What Types of Compensation Can You Expect After a Slip and Fall Accident?
There are several types of economic and non-economic damages you might receive for your slip and fall claim. Every case is different, and only some types of damage apply. It depends on the circumstances of your accident, the severity of your injuries, and the impact they have had on your life.
Some types of economic compensation you might receive include:
- Current and future medical expenses related to the accident
- The cost of rehabilitative therapy
- Current and future lost wages
- The cost of medical devices
- Home help services
- Out-of-pocket costs
If you have serious injuries, you might receive some types of non-economic compensation, such as:
- Physical pain and anguish
- Emotional suffering
- Diminished quality of life
- Loss of Consortium
Your lawyer can tell you which types of economic and non-economic you might receive. They will also calculate how much compensation you might receive for your case.
What Is the Average Settlement for a Slip and Fall Accident?
Just as all slip and fall accidents are different, the compensation varies in each case. On average, the settlement is between $10,000 and $50,000. Your actual payout depends on the type of injury you have and the cost of your medical treatment. You won’t receive as much compensation for injuries that are expected to heal completely in the near future. You will get more compensation for injuries that might never heal or will cause a permanent disability.
The strength of your evidence will affect the amount of your settlement too. Failing to gather evidence immediately after the accident can result in your failing to get the maximum payout for your injuries.
The amount of your settlement isn’t only for your past and current expenses. It also includes the projected costs for the future, such as medical costs and loss of income. If you prove your injuries are severe and that they were caused by the accident, you will get a higher payout.
Indiana Slip and Fall Laws
Indiana has specific slip and fall laws that make it difficult to argue your case. Some laws that make it difficult to navigate the system on your own include:
- Statute of limitations – You have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim.
- Comparative negligence – You can’t file a claim or get compensation if you are more than 49% liable for the accident.
- The concept of negligence – You must prove the property owner or someone working for them was negligent and caused the accident and your injury.
Speak to an Experienced Attorney Today
If you need help understanding your case and your rights, contact Hasan Shah at SLG Accident Attorneys today. He is experienced at providing help to slip and fall victims throughout Hamilton County and can help you understand your rights.