July 15, 2019

Five Slip and Fall Q&As

I just fell at a hotel/casino/restaurant. Do I have a case? We get this question a lot. A business is not legally responsible for your fall just because you fell there. A business owes a duty to keep its premises in a “reasonably safe” condition for patrons. Of course, reasonable people can differ on what this means, and a lawsuit is sometimes needed to resolve the dispute. Usually, if a foreign substance such as food debris, a spilled drink, etc. caused your fall this will lead to liability. The key questions are: (1) what did you slip on, (2) how long was it on the floor and (3) who put it there?

Why should I hire an attorney?
Most businesses and insurance companies won’t take victims seriously unless they have an attorney. They rely on people giving up. We once had two clients that came to me after a serious accident because the insurance company denied them for months. We wrote one letter and the company paid their policy limits—they knew they couldn’t fool anybody any longer. We can refer you to needed physicians, some of which will not work accident claims unless you have an attorney who signs a lien on your case.

We can make sure evidence is preserved and prevent you from making major mistakes
in presenting your claim.

I didn’t report the fall at the time. Can I still make a claim?

You will need to be able to prove when, where and why you fell. If you didn’t report the claim at first and realized you injured yourself days later, you’ve made the case tougher for yourself but it’s not the end. Witnesses, video and other evidence of the fall can be used.

The hotel/casino won’t give me a copy of their report or video of the fall. Can you help?
Yes, we can help. Most hotels/casinos do not take claimants seriously unless they have hired an attorney. We can start you on the path to getting well, making a claim and preserving needed evidence. However, because hotels/casinos do not legally have to share any information with you unless you file suit, most will withhold all internal accident reports and surveillance video of the incident. We cannot force them to turn it over until a lawsuit is filed. However, on receipt of a letter from an attorney they legally must preserve all evidence and video. Failure to do so may result in their being unable to defend the case as a sanction. Therefore, it is important that an attorney place them on notice of the claim as soon as possible.

What is my case worth?
Obviously, the stronger your liability case is and the more severe your damages are, the more your case is worth. Let’s hope you feel okay, but if you aren’t, we can get you to the right doctors and help you get the treatment you need. Perhaps unfairly, insurance companies tend to value claims based on the amount of medical expenses and the type of treatment rendered. Therefore, it is important to get all needed treatment. Analysis of your medical treatment is needed to fully assess your claim.

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BREEDEN Malpractice & Injury Law

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