In this segment, Gary Bruce discusses cases concerning falls. One question that comes up early on is whether a victim of a fall should report it with the company or their insurance carrier. Gary suggests that any fall should be reported immediately at the time of the incident – and it is fine to talk to representatives after the fall if they call on notice and set up a claim number and get a contact person; however, it is not recommended or necessary to talk to the adjuster about the facts.
Companies will keep records of these communications, so it is important to keep that in mind. Another consideration is a letter advising the company to keep all evidence preserved in case a claim is pursued. This can prevent the excuse of the destruction of the evidence that might help the case later. While a claim does not have to be presented immediately for payment, there is a two-year statute of limitations, which means an injured person has only two years from the date of the injury to file a case in court.
Gary also discusses what must be established to prove a slip and fall case. The plaintiff has to prove that the business owner knew or should have known of the hazard that caused the plaintiff’s injury. As with many other cases, the issue is one of superior knowledge. Hiring a lawyer in these cases can be helpful if your fall was caused by poor maintenance or negligence of the business or it’s employees.
If you have been injured in a slip and fall in a store or other business, we are happy to discuss your legal rights and options for medical care and recovery. If you have a question, do not hesitate to call the Law Offices of Gary Bruce at 706-596-1446 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a confidential meeting and free consultation.
To see what other people in a slip & fall accident situation have wanted to know, see our Frequently Asked Slip and Fall Questions.
Maureen: Hello there and welcome to legal break I’m Maureen Akers and with us today, Gary Bruce as always, thank you so much for joining us again today Gary.
Gary: Good to be here Maureen, anytime.
Maureen: Well we have a topic, we have a viewer that has contacted us and they were at a movie theater slipped and fell, and then they got- the corporate office now is calling them and offering them a settlement, or offering them some kind of money. Should they talk to him?
Gary: They should talk to them, yes. Sometimes large corporations are self-insured, so you wouldn’t necessarily hear from an insurance adjuster, you might, but you should certainly set up a claim, make sure you have a claim number, a contact person. Then you don’t have to really do anything else. You don’t have to give them a statement, they’ll insist you do, but it’s not required. If you don’t feel comfortable, if you feel medicated, you don’t feel right, then don’t do it because it’s going to be in your permanent record so if there’s nothing to hide don’t worry about it. But they are, this may sound a little jaded, maybe I am, but they’re trained to take statements, they know what they want to get from you, so yeah be careful about that. But otherwise, do talk to them, set it up, and then go about what you need to do. You’re not in any rush; time is not of the essence- I mean it’s not imperative that you act immediately. You usually have two years to bring in an action so see what happens.
Maureen: Well on that note, is there a case in something like this?
Gary: Well that’s the question right? So if they’re calling you at least they’re acknowledging it, right? There was an incident; we know about it, is there a case- that’s what’s going to be debated. Because you have to prove that the business owner knew, or should have known, of a hazard they failed to warn you of, or remedy. So, if they’re not an insurer of all things on their property, I hear that a lot, well I fell here- shouldn’t they have to pay my medical bills? Number one- they’re not going to pay your medical bills, as you go along. It’s not going to happen, you need to use your own health insurance, your own resources for that. But, are they going to pay a claim ultimately, well probably deny it initially, but that doesn’t mean that’s the end of the story.
Maureen: So now, what is the right time to resolve it? And should you hire a lawyer?
Gary: Well sometimes you should, sometimes you shouldn’t. If you feel it is because somebody may have created, or maintained a problem they didn’t warn you of, then yes you’ve got a claim. And then it depends on what your damages are you know. So, we get involved early, we get involved late sometimes, but usually we want to know what the story is. We want to know how has your life been impacted, what happened as a result of the fall, what are the damages? And you need to know that before it’s time to tell the story, to try and resolve it. So, that’s really the critical time, but early on is it not a bad time either, to answer any questions you might have.
Maureen: Oh very good. Well thank you so much for joining us today, and we look forward to seeing you on the very next Legal Break.
Read our most frequently asked questions to understand when there is a case after a fall and an injury.