Slip and Fall Accident Attorneys
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While some slip and fall cases can be handled on your own in Small Claims Court, most will require the assistance of an attorney. Slip and fall cases can be difficult to win in court, because there is no exact method for proving that a property owner (or employee) owes you compensation for an injury that occurred on his/her property. Property owners often are able to defend slip and fall lawsuits, and if you do not have an attorney you may be unable to prove that you deserve compensation.
TIP: If you are suing a business, or if your slip and fall injuries are significant, the opposing party will have attorneys representing them. It is very unlikely that you have the ability to negotiate a reasonable settlement or win a lawsuit against an attorney on your own.
Value of a Slip and Fall Attorney
Generally, you must prove that there was a dangerous condition caused by the person you are suing by showing: the condition occurred on their property, that they knew or should have known about it, and that they were responsible for it. Proving a slip and fall is not as easy, and an attorney can help you by:
- Gathering evidence of the slip and fall
- Speaking with witnesses
- Researching similar cases to build a legal argument
- Hiring expert witnesses to argue the property owner was negligent
- Negotiating a fair settlement for your injuries
- Working with insurance adjusters or opposing attorneys
- Assessing the value of your case, and pursuing all the damages you deserve
If you wish to pursue a slip and fall injury case, you should first contact a personal injury attorney. Most attorneys offer free consultations that do not obligate you to hire.
TIP: It is only too late to hire an attorney if you have signed a settlement offer or accepted money from the property owner. You can start your slip and fall claim on your own, and get an attorney involved at any time during the process. However, keep in mind that you can make mistakes very early on that can scuttle a lawsuit, so the earlier you involve an attorney, the safer you'll be.
Paying a Slip and Fall Attorney
Most slip and fall attorneys take cases by contingency fee, which means that they receive a percentage of any settlement you receive from a case, and if you do not receive any money, your attorney receives nothing as well. In most states, standard contingency fees range from 25-40% of the final settlement, with many being about 33.3%. If you chose to hire an attorney for your case, have any agreement regarding payment, costs, etc., in writing at the outset of the case.
TIP: If you already have a settlement offer from the property owner or his insurance company and have hired an attorney to negotiate a better one, be sure to clarify with the attorney whether or not her fee will be a percentage of the total settlement or of the value she negotiated (total settlement minus the initial settlement offer).
Working with a Slip and Fall Attorney
A slip and fall lawsuit will be manged by your attorney, however, you must stay active and be prepared to make the ultimate decisions in your case. Your attorney should keep you well informed of all the issues in the case, get the necessary evidence from you, and prepare you to make informed decisions about accepting / rejecting settlement offers that may come up during the course of your claim. You should keep in regular contact with your attorney for updates and decisions in the case.
For Additional Reading See Articles on:
- Slip and Fall Accident Lawsuits
- Proving a Property Owner is Responsible for Slip and Fall Injuries
- Defenses in Slip and Fall Lawsuits