In the weeks following a slip and fall accident, your mind is full of worry and confusion. You hope that you will make a full recovery and won’t have to live with chronic pain for years just because slipped and fell. Huge medical bills are starting to arrive at your house. What your doctor might tell you about going back to work is a no-win situation; either you will have to work while still injured and in pain, perhaps delaying your recovery, or else you have to stay home, not earning any money while your medical bills pile up on top of your household bills and the mortgage. The last thing you need to worry about is phone calls from property insurance adjusters. In fact, the best thing to do is not to deal with them at all. Just have the Kansas City slip and fall lawyers at Foster Wallace, LLC deal with the property insurance adjusters on your behalf.
Premises Liability: The Law involving Slip and Falls
The laws that make it possible to file a lawsuit after a slip and fall accident are premises liability laws. In Missouri, business owners have a legal responsibility to keep their places of business safe for visitors. That means that the business owners must use reasonable diligence to prevent and to remedy dangerous conditions; they must put reasonable effort into inspecting the premises for safety hazards. These are some examples of things business owners should do to prevent slip and fall accidents:
- Having employees conduct walk-through inspections of every area of the store open to the public to check for spills. If liquid has been spilled on the floor, the employees should block off the area so customers cannot walk there until after the spill has been cleaned and the floor has dried.
- Posting warning signs near areas of the floor that have a tendency to become slippery when customers walk there with wet shoes, such as on rainy and snowy days.
- Salting outdoor walkways as soon as the temperature drops below freezing and before or immediately after a snowfall begins.
Missouri also allows you to sue the owner of a private residence for premises liability if you sustained injuries from a slip and fall accident while you were a guest. The standard of care that the owner of the private residence has is different from the standard which business owners must adhere in protecting customers from accidental injuries.
Proving that the defendant is responsible for incidents that happen on the premises is not always the most difficult part of a premises liability case. Sometimes, the more challenging part is showing that your injuries are the result of the slip and fall accident instead of lingering problems from an old injury, for example.
Property Insurance Adjusters Are Not Trying to Help
If you slip and fall at a place of business, the first thing you should do is get medical treatment. Your health is the most important thing; you have time to deal with the legal and financial issues you suffered from the fall later down the line. Even if you feel well enough to stand up and walk away from the accident, or even to drive home, you should drive to the emergency room instead. Many of the injuries that can result from a slip and fall accident, from whiplash injury to concussions, do not start showing symptoms immediately. If you have broken bones, require stitches, or are otherwise obviously seriously injured, you should call 911 and go to the emergency room by ambulance.
As with car accidents, most slip and fall accidents can be resolved without filing a lawsuit or going to court. In many cases, the business owner’s property insurance will offer you a settlement to cover your medical bills. To figure out how much to offer you, the property insurance company will call you to find out more details about the accident; they might even want to take a recorded statement. They want to get a recorded statement from you so that they can find a way to pay you less, not to pay you more. Their goal is to get a statement from you that is against your interest that they can use against you down the line to pay you less or use in court to sway the jury that your injuries were not that bad or that the defendant is not at fault for the slip and fall (and you were at fault).
By taking a recorded statement, the property insurance adjusters are trying to catch you in the act of saying things that are inconsistent or inaccurate. They might even ask you deliberately confusing questions. If you mention anything about how your injuries are not very serious or how you have been able to go back to work, this gives them a reason to pay you less. Likewise, if you say anything about an old injury that was aggravated by the slip and fall accident, the insurance company can argue (and the business owner can argue in court, if you later sue them) that your pain is the result of your old injury and not of the slip and fall accident. Likewise, if you mention that you were talking on the phone or trying to keep track of your children in the store when you fell, the defendant can argue that you were distracted, and therefore that the accident was partially your fault and they should not have to pay you the full amount you are requesting.
How A Missouri Slip & Fall Lawyer Can Help You
A slip and fall lawyer can help you in many ways. They can help you persuade a judge that your injuries are due to the slip and fall accident, not to something else. They can help you recover the cost of your medical bills, lost income, and even noneconomic damages (for your pain and suffering). A lawyer can help you convince the defendant to offer you a settlement that you can live with so you do not have to go to trial. Best of all, they can deal with the property insurance adjusters so you do not have to. If a property insurance adjuster calls you about a slip and fall accident, tell them to talk to your lawyer. A Kansas City slip and fall lawyer will know just how to handle the insurance adjuster’s questions.
Talk to a Slip & Fall Lawyer, Not to Insurance Adjusters
Your Missouri slip and fall lawyer is looking out for your best interests, but the defendant’s insurance adjusters are not. Contact Foster Wallace, LLC in Kansas City, Missouri for a free consultation.