When you are injured in a slip and fall accident, it is most likely your first experience being seriously injured due to the fault of another person or business. The process of filing your claim with a property owner’s insurance company, fighting about your right to compensation, and filing a lawsuit can be confusing. Here, we explain how settling a slip and fall claim works so that you know what to expect.
Steps in a Slip and Fall Accident Case
Every slip and fall case is unique, and not all the steps will apply in each case. However, the following stages typically occur when trying to resolve a slip and fall injury claim:
- Investigation. Once you retain your attorney, he will investigate your claim. This will include interviewing you and any witnesses to your slip and fall accident and collecting a copy of the accident report, pictures, and other evidence. He will also review your medical records so that he understands your injuries fully and obtain copies of medical bills, wage information, and other out-of-pocket expenses to document the compensation you are entitled to.
- Demand letter. Your attorney will send the property or business owner a demand letter once he has completed his investigation and you have recovered from your injuries or reached the stage of your recovery where your doctor can give you a final prognosis. It is important to wait until this point in your medical treatment so that all future medical and lost wages are included in your settlement. His letter will outline how the owner’s negligence caused your accident, describe the extent of your injuries, and make a demand for what you should receive in your settlement.
- Negotiations. The insurance adjuster will review your demand letter and make a response. In most cases, the insurance company will raise some disputes about liability or the seriousness of your injuries in an effort to deny or reduce your claim. Your attorney may engage in lengthy negotiations with the insurance adjuster and may need to provide further documentation of disputed issues before settling your claim. Many of these cases are resolved through this process without the need to go to court.
- Lawsuit. If the insurance company will not agree to a fair settlement, your attorney will start a civil lawsuit on your behalf. This process begins by filing a complaint against the business or property owner who caused your injuries. The negligent party will be served with your complaint and will file an answer to it.
- Discovery. After the answer is filed, the discovery phase of your case will begin. Both parties will obtain documents and other information to determine what each other’s legal claims and defenses are. This can be done through sending each other written questions to be answered, requesting that documents be produced, and conducting depositions, which is testimony given under oath.
- Negotiations. Your attorney will continue to attempt to settle your case throughout the litigation process. The majority of cases are settled at some point prior to a scheduled trial.
- Trial. If you are unable reach a settlement, your case will be decided at a jury trial. At this court hearing, you will have the opportunity to testify, call other witnesses to testify, and present other evidence that supports your claim. The negligent party will also have the opportunity to present its witnesses and evidence. At the end of the trial, the jury will deliberate and make a decision on whether you proved your case and if so, how much you are owed.
Were you or a loved one injured in a slip and fall accident in the Seattle area? Our experienced slip and fall accident attorneys are here to fight for your right to compensation for your injuries. To discuss your situation and learn more about how settlement of your claim will work, call our office today to schedule a free case evaluation.
Category: Slip and Fall
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