Our attorneys have handled hundreds of injury claims over the past three decades, many of which are for slip and fall accidents. We have come to realize that there are several prevailing myths that many folks have about slip and fall claims. Below, we try to clarify a few important issues and set the record straight. If you have further questions regarding slip and fall legal matters, contact our office.
Myth #1: All Slip and Fall Accidents Justify an Injury Claim
Many folks mistakenly believe that every slip and fall accident victim can be reimbursed for damages by filing a premises liability injury claim. This is true in some cases. You can file an injury claim and recover damages if you can prove the following elements.
- You were injured on another party’s property
- That party owed you a duty of care
- That party acted negligently in some manner, breaching their duty
- Your slip and fall injury was a direct result of that party’s negligence
But a lot of slip and fall accidents don’t justify this type of claim — or any claim, for that matter. For example, if you were injured on your own property or as a result of your own negligence, you likely cannot file a liability claim. If the accident occurred while you performed job duties, you will need to file for workers’ compensation rather than an injury claim. Every accident is unique and needs to be assessed in order to determine which (if any) type of claim is called for.
Myth #2: If the Owner Has Little Money, the Victim Can’t Recover
We’ve come across a lot of slip and fall accident victims who are reluctant to pursue a claim because they think the owner doesn’t have the assets to cover the damages. For instance, their accidents may have occurred at a neighbor’s house who has limited funds or at a local mom-and-pop shop. The thing to understand is that property owners usually do not pay out-of-pocket for victims’ damages. Generally, when you are injured in a slip and fall, it’s the owners’ homeowner’s or commercial liability insurance company that will foot the bill.
If the owner doesn’t have adequate insurance to cover a claimant’s damages, the victim can try to recover by filing a suit against the owner, but many times, it doesn’t come to that. It’s always advisable to know your options and pursue what best for you because in the event that you don’t file a claim, you’ll have to cover the expenses yourself.
Myth #3: It’s Best to Push for a Quick Settlement
We’ve noticed that victims will jump on the first settlement offer that comes their way, thinking it’s best to settle quickly. And while this is understandable because you’re anxious and have bills to pay, rash decisions can hurt you in the long run. This is because it may take some time for the extent of your injury to manifest fully. If you sign a settlement agreement prematurely before all of your damages are accounted for, you’ll miss out on compensation that you could have been awarded.