If you know about personal injury law at all, you might know that these constitute civil cases, not criminal ones. In other words, someone sues another individual or entity who they feel harmed them. It’s not like a criminal case, where the legal system alleges someone broke the law.
If you study personal injury cases, you will quickly notice patterns. You will see many product liability lawsuits where a product allegedly harms someone. You may also see wrongful death lawsuits from drunk driving accidents.
Slip-and-fall lawsuits happen very frequently in the legal system as well. If you’re unlucky, maybe you’ll take a tumble at some point and hurt yourself. If it happened in a store or at someone’s house, you might feel you should bring a personal injury lawsuit, particularly if you hurt yourself.
Let’s take a look at how slip-and-fall lawsuits usually play out. If you know what to expect, you can feel confident as you move through this process.
Slip-and-fall lawsuits typically start with the incident. Maybe you’re in a grocery store, and there’s an employee mopping the floor, cleaning up a spill. They get the floor wet and then walk away to grab a “wet floor” sign. Before they get back, though, you come up the aisle, pushing your cart full of groceries. You don’t see the wet floor, and you slip on it and fall.
If you’re lucky, you won’t hurt yourself. However, you may also injure yourself quite badly. You have set in motion a chain of events that could end up in a courtroom.
What Comes Next?
Usually, a store manager or some other employee might run up and apologize profusely. They may realize a lawsuit could come from their carelessness.
If you feel alright, you might leave the store without thinking about the incident again. If you feel like the fall hurt you badly, though, you might call an ambulance on your smartphone. The store manager or some other employee may do it for you if you ask them.
When the ambulance comes, they will take you to a hospital. The hospital will expect you to pay for that ambulance, so keep that in mind. If you have health insurance, you might get a reduced bill, but that’s not a free ride. Even if you’re hurt, you may drive yourself to the hospital instead if you feel up to it.
The Doctor Will Look You Over
At this point, a doctor will look you over. You might also have a situation where you felt okay at first, and you went home, but then, within the next couple of days, some body part started bothering you.
You can tell the doctor what happened. If you do not go to a hospital, you might see your physician. You may visit a clinic or go to an urgent care facility.
You might get X-rays done. You may need an MRI as well. At a minimum, a doctor will examine you thoroughly and give you a diagnosis.
At that point, if you realize the fall seriously injured you, you might decide you should look into suing. If you need surgery, you’re going to miss some work, or you find you can’t do the things you usually can, pursuing a lawsuit against the grocery store becomes more likely.
You Will Hire a Lawyer
Visiting with and hiring an attorney should come next. You might ask your friends or family members if they know of one. You may get a recommendation, or else you can hunt around online and see if you can find a personal injury lawyer nearby with great reviews.
You can tell the lawyer what happened. They will probably ask you several questions. They may want to know when the accident occurred, whether the store had a sign up, and what the doctor said about your injuries.
The lawyer will then decide if you have a case and whether they want to represent you. If they feel you have a good shot at winning, they will probably take you on as a client.
You Will Move Forward with the Lawsuit
Your attorney can advise you about what you should do next. They can draft the papers that inform the grocery store location or chain that you’re bringing legal action against them.
Your lawyer will also investigate what happened. They might hire an investigator who can see whether there’s any video evidence of what took place or any witnesses who saw it.
Your attorney can meet with the grocery store’s legal counsel. At that point, you should have an indication of whether the grocery store might settle or whether they want to go to trial.
Your lawyer can tell you how much in damages it might be reasonable to seek. You can’t just demand an arbitrary sum of money. You need to look at precedent in similar cases, how much work you’re missing because of the accident, and how much you’re paying in medical bills.
The Store Will Settle or Go to Trial
In many cases, the grocery store will settle with you before the trial starts. That depends on several factors. Their counsel will examine how much money you’re demanding, what evidence exists, and how badly the fall hurt you.
They may give you a counteroffer. Then, you and your lawyer must get together and decide whether you’ll take it. You could refuse and go to trial.
It’s also possible the grocery store’s legal counsel will say they don’t think you have enough evidence or maybe even that they don’t believe your injury’s legitimacy. If so, you must go to trial and try to prove your case.
You might win and walk away with a nice payday. Of course, you must give the lawyer some of that money, and you may use the rest on medical bills. Slip-and-fall cases aren’t much fun, but if you injure yourself in the way we described, you may feel that’s your best option.