Many injured victims do not take a slip/trip and fall incident as serious as they should from the moment of injury. This avoidance or complacency only serves to encourage large corporations and insurance companies to withhold fair compensation to injured persons as a result of negligence. Businesses and insurance companies know that in a slip and/or trip and fall incident, evidence disappears quickly. When little to no evidence is available, claims are easier to dismiss.

Most jurors deciding a slip/trip and fall case, have never been injured in a similar way. Moreover, the way jury selection is conducted in Florida; it is unlikely a slip/trip and fall victim would remain as a juror on a slip/trip and fall trial. Insurance companies and their thousands of attorneys know this. More commonly experienced at trial is a jury comprised of unsympathetic folks who believe this kind of accident would have never happened to them because they believe they are more aware than the victim, and they watch where they are going.

However, statistics show that one in every four people suffer a fall every year – with most of these people being 65 years old and above. Some unfortunate souls suffer multiple slip/trip and fall over the course of their lifetime. What many folks may not know is that incidents such as these can not only cause serious injuries, but also death, brain damage or paralysis. That risk of harm is why businesses are required to keep their stores and places of business clean and safe from these dangers. More often than not, these slip/trip and fall cases reveal businesses put their profits ahead of the safety of their patrons and guests. When that happens, preventable injuries become inevitable outcomes.

Retaining an attorney immediately following an injury is the best way to help level the playing field for the average Joe or Jane set to fight against big business and the insurance industry. Victims can protect themselves by being prepared, acting immediately and fighting for their rights. Here are a few issues to consider why injured victims should immediately hire a personal injury attorney as soon as a slip/trip and fall injury occurs.

The Preservation of Evidence

Most businesses, not all, but most, are very well equipped with surveillance cameras. However, most surveillance camera systems are set up in such a way that relevant footage of an incident can quickly become lost or destroyed. Many times, this loss can happen in a matter of days. Employee and independent witnesses also disappear quickly following an incident. In the heat of the moment, people are generally willing to provide contact information and a promise to help if needed, but when years have passed, and it comes time to offer testimony on a victim’s behalf, independent witnesses tend to disappear. By having immediate representation an injured victim’s attorney can immediately send out legal notices requiring business owners to preserve evidence of the incident making the negligence much harder to deny later. Preserving evidence is the most crucial stage for a slip/trip and fall claim.

Avoiding Costly Pitfalls

Many times, when slip/trip and fall injuries occur some representative from the business or insurance company will offer to pay for the victim’s medical bills. They may say “just send us your bills and we’ll take care of it.” No one should ever believe this! Rarely, if ever has one of the promises been kept. Most of the time conversations like these are intentional deceptions played out against victims to lure them into letting their guard down, become complacent and trust that everything will be ok. Failing to pursue a claim for only a few days gives defendants and insurance companies an incredible advantage when seeking to deny a claim. Additionally, many victims don’t know if they accept any payment for their injuries, even if only for a portion of their medical bills, their case may be considered settled and they won’t see another dime for their damages.

Medical Treatment

Most people don’t know that there are some doctors out there who refuse to treat personal injury victims who may become part of a lawsuit. Sometimes that refusal is because the doctor doesn’t want to be bothered with providing records timely, being asked for his/her medical opinion or being deposed. However, what many people don’t know is that some of these doctors actually work for the same insurance companies who insure these businesses. Many doctors do this type of work to supplement (to put it lightly) their income by performing “compulsory medical exams” of injured victims on behalf of insurance companies. 99% of the time, these hired guns will only offer opinions helpful to who is paying them (the insurance company). Having a personal injury attorney who knows who these doctors are cannot only help you avoid them but guide and protect you through any court-ordered compulsory medical exam.

Medical Bills

What is a victim supposed to do after an injury when medical bills keep coming in and the insurance company refuses to pay? Collection companies love complacent victims. Even if a person has health insurance, will the proposed treatment be covered? What about co-pays? What about other out of pocket medical expenses? Most people don’t keep a stash of cash available to pay for unexpected medical bills. A personal injury attorney can help communicate with medical providers and bill collectors which many times keeps the victim out of collections.

Communication with Treating Medical Providers

An injured victim’s medical records become evidence in any lawsuit. Even though most people never see their medical records, in a personal injury case those medical records and the information they contain are often used against the victims by defendants to devalue the victim’s claim. Unlike a more common doctor visit, when treating for a personal injury, victims need to know how to communicate with their treating providers. Neglecting to fill out forms completely and failing to disclose relevant medical history or complaints can be extremely detrimental to a claim. An experienced personal injury attorney can advise victims about these important areas prior to receiving treatment and prior to a medical record being generated. Once a medical record has been generated, rarely can a mistake be corrected. Knowing how to communicate with providers and making sure every complaint is taken down accurately helps protect the value of a claim. A personal injury attorney should never offer you medical advice.

Communication with Defendants and Insurance Companies

What injured victim wants to get phone calls from defendants, insurance companies and bill collectors when suffering from a serious injury? Hiring a personal injury attorney experienced in slip/trip and fall cases will provide injured victims with a mouthpiece. Often, unrepresented victims unknowingly agree to have their phone conversations with defendants, their attorneys or insurance companies recorded. The victim’s responses to questions will certainly be used against them later when the claim is being evaluated regardless of whether the victim was in pain at the time or on medication which could influence communication. There are many tools used by the industry to lower claims values. A represented victim has a barrier, their attorney, between any and all communication regarding their claim. This barrier will most certainly help protect the value of a claim as well as avoid much-unneeded stress.

Putting the Defendant(s) on Notice

Time is of the essence with these matters and the sooner an injured victim can put the negligent party on notice of an injury, the better. Once a negligent party is on notice, their actions following that notice become more scrutinized. Failing to put a party on notice gives defendants the ability and opportunity to deny knowledge or involvement. Victims suffering from painful injuries typically don’t realize how important this step is. Filling out an incident report at the time an injury occurs is not always enough to put a negligent party on notice. Incident reports get lost and destroyed and sometimes the author of the report quits or gets terminated before being questions.

Gathering and Keeping Evidence

From the moment you hire an experienced personal injury attorney, evidence is being preserved, gathered and maintained. If the claim proceeds to a lawsuit a site inspection of the area where the incident occurred may be required. Premises liability experts may need to take part in this process. Not all investigations and experts are the same. This is a daunting road for those less traveled. If there is a serious injury, serious help is needed.

Making the Claim

Presenting a demand for payment for personal injuries is more than just sending a letter and demanding an amount. Many demands are processed by computers using artificial intelligence which scans the letters, records, bills, photographs and other items for information. This information is then processed, and an algorithm is applied which determines a value for a claim. This process removes the human element (or whatever was left of it) from claim valuation. An experienced personal injury attorney is aware of who or what is reading the demand and knows how to present the information to render it better received. Information that cannot be understood by AI is often discarded and not considered.

Conclusion

Victims should strive to avoid being a victim twice.  While the world of tort reform would have the average person believe only minor injuries occur from slip/trip and falls, statistics prove otherwise.  Slip/trip and fall victims are not driving up the costs of health care and taxes.  These themes are nothing more than propaganda bought and paid for by big business and insurance companies.  Their target, innocent victims.  Convincing the general public that these slip/trip and falls are low level unimportant injuries that don’t require immediate attention helps fuel these misconceptions.  As more claims are denied and devalued big business and the insurance industry enjoys the profits.  Ever wonder why every single insurance company commercial tells the viewers how friendly they are, or how they can trust them, or how cool they are?  It’s not a game.  It’s intentional and most injured victims have no idea what they are facing until it’s too late.