Falls are the leading cause of non-fatal and unintentional injuries resulting in emergency room visits. In 2019, more than 8 million people went to the ER to treat injuries due to an accidental fall. That same year, unintentional falls led to a total of $1.5 billion in medical expenses, with an average cost of $38,344 for a single incident. Furthermore, falls cause more traumatic brain injuries than any other type of incident.
While not every slip-and-fall accident requires medical treatment or results in serious injuries, many do. If you slip, trip or fall on someone else’s property and sustain significant physical harm, you may want to hire a lawyer to help you pursue a fair settlement. An attorney can assist with fighting the insurance company or pursuing a personal injury lawsuit.
Getting Fair Compensation From the Insurance Company
If your accident occurred on another person’s property, you might be able to file an insurance claim to cover your medical expenses and a percentage of lost wages. When your fall occurs on a third party’s property, you submit your claim to the property owner’s homeowner’s or business insurance company if the property owner has liability coverage.
Massachusetts law does not require property or business owners to carry liability insurance. However, the lender likely requires coverage if the individual or company has a loan on the property. Additionally, many commercial property landlords mandate business owners to carry liability insurance to rent a retail space.
When you file a claim, you can expect the insurance company to deny the claim, offer a lowball quick settlement or argue against the severity of your injuries and required medical treatment. Insurance companies have an interest in keeping their costs low. They serve their shareholders, not their customers. They will use every means possible to reduce or avoid paying out benefits.
What To Know About Negligence
There are two possibilities for filing an insurance claim for a slip-and-fall injury. Negligence plays a different role in each case. If your accident occurs at work, your claim goes to your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance provider. Massachusetts law requires almost every employer to have workers’ comp insurance for every employee. This state has a no-fault policy for workplace accidents. In most instances, insurance companies are supposed to provide benefits regardless of who caused the accident.
Negligence matters if you fall at a store, in a parking lot, on public property, or at some other location that is not your own property. Property owners or occupants are only liable for injuries occurring on their property if their negligence caused the accident. In filing a claim, you must be able to demonstrate that the other party was at fault. Proving responsibility can be challenging in slip-and-fall cases, and insurance companies do their best to counter any proof you submit.
Establishing liability requires evidence of the following:
- The property owner had a responsibility to ensure the property was free from hazards to visitors
- Your presence on the property was legal
- A danger existed on the property
- The property owner knew or should have known about the hazard and did nothing to alert visitors of its presence or fix the situation
- You could not have reasonably expected the hazard
- The hazard caused the accident that led to your injuries
You must show that your situation meets all the conditions. These same conditions apply in a legal case, and insurance companies utilize the same guidelines when deciding on a claim. If they can use the above requirements to deny liability for their customer, they can justify denying your claim.
How a Lawyer Helps
Slip-and-fall cases are notoriously complex, whether you file through workers’ comp or property liability insurance. Workers’ compensation insurance companies dispute about half of all compensation claims. You must go through the dispute process if the insurer disputes or denies your claim.
While seeking legal counsel is not required, the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents strongly recommends it due to the complexity of the state’s workers’ compensation laws. An attorney with experience handling slip-and-fall workplace accident cases understands the law and can walk you through the dispute resolution process. Your lawyer will also protect your rights and look out for your best interests. You do not have to accept the insurance company’s decision.
If you need to submit a claim for a slip-and-fall injury on another person’s property outside of work, a lawyer can help you obtain a fair settlement. Attorneys understand insurance laws and know how these companies operate. They can help ensure you have the documentation you need when filing your claim. They also handle the communications and settlement negotiations with the insurance representatives.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
When you don’t get the compensation you deserve, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages that reflect your losses. Self-representation is possible, but an experienced personal injury lawyer may improve your chances of a favorable outcome.
Lawyers practiced in slip-and-fall cases walk you through the entire process. They protect your rights and offer legal advice to help you understand the law and your options. Slip-and-fall attorneys provide you support with the following:
- Gathering evidence to prove negligence
- Collecting evidence of your damages
- Calculating your losses
- Completing and filing the paperwork
- Communicating and negotiating with the defense
Chances are, you won’t need to go to court, but if you do, your lawyer represents you in the courtroom.
With an attorney on your side, you have someone who thoroughly understands the relevant laws and isn’t intimidated by the defense’s tactics. Your lawyer knows what evidence you need to establish negligence and can protect you from accidental but costly missteps. Your attorney takes the burden of a lawsuit off your shoulders, allowing you to concentrate on healing.
Workers’ Compensation Lawsuits
It’s essential to note that workers’ compensation laws prevent you from filing a legal claim against your employer. However, other instances may call for a lawsuit. You may have a viable lawsuit if the insurance company acts in bad faith. However, establishing bad faith isn’t easy.
You can’t file a suit just because you disagree with the outcomes of a dispute. If you work with a lawyer during the dispute resolution process, your attorney will offer guidance about the potential for a bad faith lawsuit. If you handled the dispute on your own, you could contact a lawyer and have the attorney evaluate your case to help you determine whether you have a valid claim.
You may also be able to file a lawsuit when you slip and fall on the job if a third party is responsible for the accident. A third-party claim is possible when the negligent actions of a vendor or contractor contribute to the accident that caused your injuries. If you pursue a third-party suit and win it, you will likely need to pay back any workers’ compensation benefits you received.
Working With Experienced Lawyers
Jason Stone Injury Lawyers dedicate their energies and resources to helping accident victims recover the compensation they deserve, allowing them to get their lives back on track. When you work with us, you get a team of professionals going to bat for you. We work closely with you during the journey, providing individualized assistance that addresses your specific needs. Our Stone Cold Guarantee means you don’t pay anything until we win your case. Get in touch with us today for your free consultation. There’s No Obligation, Just Information®.