WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Report the incident. If you are able, report the incident to management. Next, try to get names and phone numbers of any witnesses to the fall or the events leading up to the fall. As an example, if another shopper tells you they saw the water on the floor before you fell and they already reported it to the store employees who did nothing, you really need to be able to find that witness.
Get medical care. Delays in going to the doctor are used by claims adjusters as an excuse not to pay you or pay you very much. If you are hurt so bad, why didn’t you go to the doctor? Use your health insurance, if necessary. Your health insurer will likely have to be reimbursed from any settlement, but the most important thing is to get you the medical care you need to get better. If you don’t have a doctor or health insurance and your pain level is high, consider going to the emergency room. Finally, if you have no options regarding health providers, you may need to consult with a lawyer to assist you in finding a doctor who will treat your injuries and is willing to wait for payment at the end of the case.
Don’t give a recorded statement to the insurance carrier without speaking to a lawyer.
Insurance adjusters take recorded statements to lock people down on their stories. Sometimes people say things they don’t really mean in their statements. For example, “it was an accident” may mean “they didn’t do it on purpose” to you when it means “no one was at fault” to an insurance adjuster. In premises case, your admission that you don’t know where the defect came from or how it was there will be used against you to show that the defendant also didn’t know where the defect came from or how long it was there. Finally, people will often say they are “OK” immediately after the incident only to find out that a day or two later that they have a significant pain level that requires significant medical care. So, were you “OK” or not? Something else happen to you? So you just started to say you were injured after you thought about it a while? These are the way insurance “think” are your statement. Don’t give them the ammo to use against you.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO FILE A PREMISES LIABILITY CLAIM?
Texas law requires a lawsuit must be filed before the expiration of two years from the date of your injury. That is known as the “statute of limitations”. Making a claim against the insurance carrier is not the same as filing a lawsuit. You need to speak to a lawyer well in advance of the two year mark to determine if a lawsuit should be filed and to make sure the correct defendants are named in the case.
HOW LONG WILL MY PREMISES LIABILITY CLAIM TAKE TO RESOLVE?
That depends on the nature and extent of your injuries as well as whether it becomes necessary to file a lawsuit. Keep in mind that if you are willing to take a poor offer, you can get your case settled quickly. Adjusters desire to settle your case quickly, before you realize how severe your injuries are or how significant your loss is. Ask yourself: Why are they willing to settle this so quickly? Adjusters are only interested in the “bottom line”; they don’t do anything for “fairness” or “justice”, just trying to close the file for as little money as possible.
WHY DO I NEED TO HIRE A LAWYER FOR A PREMISES LIABILITY CLAIM?
These types of cases are often misunderstood. They are tricky and the injuries arising can be disabling and long-term in nature. Only through consulting a qualified attorney can you learn the true value of your claim and maximize your recovery. Finally, most of these cases require litigation to get the full value of the claim from the defendant. Your decision on hiring a lawyer with a history and reputation for litigating this cases and GOING TO TRIAL WHEN NECESSARY, will go a long way to maximizing your recovery.
For more information on Injured In A Premises Liability Scenario, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling today.