According to the National Floor Safety Institute, over one million people visit the emergency room each year after suffering a slip and fall accident. If you've ever slipped and were injured in a department store or at work, chances are you didn't have any issues filing a claim because you were not suing someone you knew or had a personal connection to. Unfortunately, if you seriously injure yourself in the home of a friend or neighbor, filing a lawsuit can become messy. If you're ever faced with this situation, here are some important points to keep in mind:
After the Accident
No matter the severity of your injury, it is critical for you to head to the hospital right away. The medical staff can provide you with a detailed account of your injuries, which is crucial when you decide to file a claim. While you're leaving your family member or friend's home, you might feel guilty and tell them you are sorry, that you aren't injured that badly or the accident was your fault. Unfortunately, if you end up filing a suit, and it becomes contentious, these seemingly-innocuous phrases can be held against you.
In cases where the slip and fall occurs in an apartment, it is critical to report the incident to the property owner or landlord. This is critical because, chances are, you will wind up filing a suit against the property's management, rather than the apartment resident.
Finally, it is critical to be careful how you interact with your loved one after the accident. They may offer to pay your medical bills, or offer you money to cover your mortgage or rent. Do not accept this money, especially if it is offered in lieu of any settlement.
Filing a Claim
Mounting medical bills combined with lost wages can make it necessary for you to file a lawsuit after the slip and fall. The thought of filing a lawsuit against a close family member or friend may be causing you to rethink this option. However, it is important to remember that when you file the claim, it will be against the homeowner's insurance provider, and not the individual directly.
In most cases, if you fall because of the homeowner's negligence, you will be able to file a premises liability claim against their insurance provider. For example, if you're at a friend's house and you trip on a loose piece of carpeting, you can file a claim against the insurance company.
Even though your friend might feel hurt that you are filing this claim, it is important to remember that the point is not to hurt your friend. Rather, it is to help you receive restitution for your personal damages.
Contacting an Attorney
After you've sought medical help before you file a claim, it is critical to hire an attorney. Even if the slip and fall occurred at the home or a close relative or your best friend, it is still possible they could try to legally and financially protect themselves if you decide to file a case. In addition to helping you file the claim against the homeowner's insurance provider, your attorney will also be invaluable if your loved one decides to dispute your claim.
Suffering from a slip and fall can be financially and physically devastating. It will only make the situation more difficult if the accident occurs at a friend or family member's home. If you ever find yourself in this tricky situation, don't hesitate to seek the help of a personal injury attorney. A good place to start is to go to websites of professional injury attorneys for more information.