Ask a Slip and Fall Lawyer: 7 Mistakes to Avoid
According to the CDC, slip and fall accidents cause more traumatic brain injuries, hip fractures, and spinal cord injuries than car accidents.
Damages resulting from a slip and fall accident can severely impact a person's life. If you have recently been a victim of a slip and fall accident, you may be entitled to compensation according to Texas laws, and a slip and fall lawyer can help you better understand your rights.
1 . Failing to Gather Evidence
If you are the victim of a slip and fall accident, the first step is to gather evidence, such as photographs, videos, and contact information of witnesses of the accident. You'll need to provide proof of your claim during a trial, so any evidence you may access immediately after the accident is essential.
2. Failing to Inform the Property Owner/Manager
Immediately after a slip and fall accident, you need to notify the person in charge of the facilities (can be a business manager or property owner). They, in turn, have to create an incident report and give you a copy (which constitutes substantial evidence of your claim).
3. Not Keeping Records
Essential records include the initial report, reports that involve authorities, and all medical records. You must never delete emails or texts related to your accident and keep copies of all related bills. Consulting with a slip and fall accident lawyer in Houston is the best way to understand what documents you need to keep and for how long.
3. Admitting Fault
Be careful of anything you say after a slip and fall accident, especially comments such as "I'm so clumsy" or anything that could be considered an admission of fault. Remember that everything can be quickly recorded and work against you in court. Avoid posting anything about the accident on social media, and avoid talking to the party at fault (business owners, employees, etc.) for anything other than informing them of the accident.
4. Not Seeking Medical Attention
After you fall, you may feel "alright." You may not have visible injuries and choose to move forward with your day. This is a big mistake because internal injuries may not bother you right away yet significantly affect your health. Not seeking immediate medical attention can make it harder to prove that your injuries directly result from the slip and fall accident.
5. Speaking to Insurance Companies
A business owner or property manager may suggest calling their insurance immediately after the accident "to help you." It's important to remember that insurance companies will try to protect themselves and their clients, not you. Speaking to them may give away information they can use against you. You are not required to talk to insurance companies before seeking medical help. After that, if an insurance adjuster contacts you, you only need to provide the following information:
Time and date of the accident
Your lawyer's name and contact information
6. Accepting a Settlement Without Consulting With an Attorney
Some businesses or insurance companies will try to offer you a settlement right away. Even if you're tempted to get the money fast, you should always wait and obtain legal counsel first. The initially offered amounts are usually low, and you may find yourself having to pay for medical expenses out of pocket and with no compensation for lost wages.
7. Not Filing in Time
In Texas, a personal injury claim statute of limitations is two years. However, your chances of winning the case significantly decrease over time, as evidence of the accident is harder to access. If you were a victim of a slip and fall accident, get legal counsel as soon as possible.
8. Not Complying with Court Dates
Once you file a complaint, there are precise dates and timelines to follow. Failing to file documentation in time, incomplete documentation, or missing an appointment in court are incredibly costly mistakes. Once you start a legal process, you need to follow through precisely as the court determines.
How Can a Slip and Fall Attorney Help You?
Professional legal counsel is always advised if you need to file a personal injury claim. Your lawyer can help with important issues such as:
- Reviewing evidence and records to build your case
- Filing documents according to the court's timeline and specifications
- Gathering additional evidence to support your claim
- Negotiating a settlement agreement and helping you get a fair amount
- Representing you in court if the case goes to trial
Before hiring an attorney, ask questions and recommendations and set up a few appointments (most lawyers offer free initial consultations). You must hire someone you trust and who has experience in similar cases.
Slip and fall accidents can have severe consequences, and the only way to protect your rights is through due process, as outlined by Texas law.