In a time when knowledge is just a click away, people are becoming more aware of their rights. It’s becoming quite easy to know what you’re entitled to these days, thanks to the internet, and this is why people must spend time learning about their rights and duties.
Despite all that, some people still don’t know when they’re entitled to legal compensation and when they should sue. In many cases, you’ll find that you have the right to a legal settlement –– especially if it’s a slip and fall case, for example –– that can sometimes be quite hefty, but if you don’t know how to handle the situation, you might end up losing your money.
In this article, we’re going to go over the proper way to handle settlements.
Document the incident
After you slipped and fallen, the first thing you need to do is document the incident so that you can have proof in the future that this happened as you claim it did. In most slip and fall cases, people don’t even know if the property owner is liable for the incident, and that’s why you need to record what happened for the court’s consideration in the future.
This is why you need to be quick and document all circumstances about the incident if possible; that includes your surroundings and whether there was a warning sign or not, the condition of the floors and any defects within them; lighting, dampness, maintenance condition, and even what clothes you were wearing at that time, especially the shoes.
You then need to identify if the building is residential or commercial so you can start identifying whether or not the employer/owner could have stopped the incident from happening, and just how liable they are for your injury. It also helps to take note of their reaction and what they said after you fell.
Proof of injury and expenses
The next thing you need to get your hands on is proof of your injury, which shouldn’t be too hard since you’ll have medical reports to back that up. Proving that the fall you sustained is the cause of the injury might be a bit more complicated, but it’s also not impossible. You need to be completely honest with this one, and be careful not to try to pin an old injury on the fall, because it’ll be easily detected and might just destroy your entire claim.
You naturally also need to document your expenses, so definitely keep all your medical bills, since that will play into the settlement money and how much you’re going to get paid at the end of the day if you win or if the other party decides to settle.
Understanding if your injury qualifies or not
Now that you’ve done the easy part of documenting your injury, expenses, and surrounding circumstances, you next have to deal with the intricate part of the settlement. That would be finding the answer to the question “Does my injury qualify for a slip and fall case, and am I eligible for a settlement or not?”
According to the team at Console & Associates, any property owner is responsible for creating a reasonably safe environment for their visitors and customers, and that is the first thing you need to understand. In some cases, it’ll be your fault for ignoring a ‘wet floor’ sign and slipping, but in others, the liability will fall on the property and those running it.
After understanding that much, when you come forward with a claim, you need to prove that the accident happened because of unsafe conditions and negligence on the owner of the property’s part. You have to prove that they were aware of the unsafe conditions or should have known, but they did otherwise. The last thing you need to show is the fact that you could not have expected or avoided the accident.
These are easier to prove than you think because you can get video surveillance to back your claims or other witnesses to show that, for instance, the floors of the building were needlessly wet and slippery and no one took action to either clean the mess or alert the guests.
Hiring professional help
All this won’t matter unless you hire professional legal help to walk you through the process and represent you. There’s no way around it; you’re going to need to make a list of competent legal professionals in your area who specialize in cases like these and do your research on each until you find the one you’re going with.
It’s important to put a little effort into finding the right lawyer because slip and fall cases are different from plenty of other legal claims, and they need a specialized lawyer. After choosing one, start discussing your case and understanding the eligibility and what proof you have.
How much are you eligible to get?
At the end of the day, that’s the most important question, and you can’t find the answer to this one without a lawyer. A lot of factors play into how much you’re going to get paid for your injury, like medical expenses, lost wages, and other factors. But you mustn’t get greedy and claim unreasonable numbers, which your lawyer will tell you about.
Chances are the other side, if truly guilty, will want to settle this as soon as possible without going to court. This is why your settlement has to be reasonable enough they’ll want to pay it and get this whole situation over with as quickly as possible.
This is how you can properly handle a settlement to ensure you get fair compensation. There’s no telling how much your settlement will be worth at the end of the day without knowing the full details, but this is why you have to follow the above-mentioned steps so that you can have solid ground to stand on when making a claim.
You need to find yourself some good lawyers to manage your case and don’t wait too long to file a claim so that you don’t squander your rights.