A slip and fall accident can change your life in mere seconds. In the U.S. alone, 6.8 million people are hurt in these simple accidents each year. As a result of a slip at work, in a public park, or in a privately owned business, you might find yourself severely injured and dealing with mounting medical bills. If you suffer in a slip and fall accident in Merrillville, Indiana, how can you receive just compensation?
You may find that insurance companies are reluctant to pay the settlement you’re owed, So where should you turn? You may need a Merrillville slip and fall attorney to help you navigate the legal process of your claim.
What is a slip and fall accident?
In legal terms, if you’re on another party’s property and experience a trip or slip that results in injury, you’ve suffered a slip and fall. For example, a slip on a wet floor or a trip over a piece of broken tile could mean you have a legally valid claim to compensation.
The injuries you sustain in a slip and fall may lead to extended medical care and loss of wages. You shouldn’t allow an insurance company to settle for less than what you deserve. However, slip and fall accidents are considered personal injury claims and are often settled before they go to court.
Is a slip and fall accident serious?
In the U.S. and across Indiana, slip and fall injuries occur every day and vary in severity. Yearly, 1 million people visit U.S. emergency rooms due to injuries suffered in slip and falls.
Slip and fall accidents don’t often result in fatalities, but they are the principal cause of missed work days. Many Merrillville slip and fall accidents result in bone fractures or concussions. Even if you do not feel your injury is severe, you may want to contact a Merrillville slip and fall attorney to explore the merits of your case.
Common legal claims after a slip and fall accident
Make sure you seek medical attention immediately after your slip and fall. If you do choose to file a claim, you’ll need medical documentation and diagnosis to verify the credibility of your case.
Some of the most common personal injury claims made after a slip and fall in Merrillville include:
- Medical costs: The injuries you suffer as a result of a slip and fall can range from a broken wrist to a spinal cord injury to a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The costs you incur from medical bills related to your injury could merit a personal injury claim.
- Lost wages: If you were forced to utilize your paid time off (PTO) or had to take unpaid time off from work due to your slip and fall accident, your claim can include lost wages as economic damages.
- Pain and suffering: Although the pain and suffering you’ve endured can’t be quantified, it does provide an avenue for your legal claim. This claim is considered a non-economic damage, and is based on evidence of your physical, mental, and emotional pain.
In order to file a successful claim, you must legally prove that the owner of the property where you fell is liable, and that you did not contribute to the negligence of your accident.
Indiana law IC § 34-11-2-4 provides a statute of limitations on the amount of time you have to file your slip and fall claim. You must file your claim within two years of the date of your accident.
Common causes of Indiana slip and fall accidents
Although property owners cannot avoid the need for clean floors or the facilitation of necessary repairs on their property, it’s vital that they clearly mark and cordon off areas that may be dangerous.
Some of the most common causes of slip and falls in Indiana include:
- Unmarked wet floors
- Uneven, loose, or missing floorboards
- Unsecured, loose or uneven carpets
- Exposed floor wiring
- Liquid spills
If you’ve entered a prohibited, closed off area on private property, you may be partially at fault for your accident. If your liability is determined to be over 50%, you may not be owed compensation.
How a Merrillville Slip and Fall Attorney can help
In slip and fall cases, you must prove the negligence of the property owner caused your fall. This can prove especially difficult and slip and fall cases don’t always point to obvious fault.
Although you can certainly pursue a claim on your own, it will help to have someone in your corner who understands the nuances of slip and fall law in Indiana. The right attorney will help combat lowballed or denied compensation from the insurance company, and might recover a significant financial amount for your personal injury.
A Merrillville slip and fall attorney can:
- Gather forensic evidence and documentation pertaining to your accident
- Explore the validity of your case and determine a legal course of action
- Hire expert witnesses to bolster your claim
- Negotiate with opposing counsel and mediate any meetings with the insurance company
- Fight for you if your case goes to court
What you should do after a slip and fall accident
If you’re at work when your slip and fall occurs, you should immediately file both an incident and an injury report. Even if you don’t initially feel the impact of your accident, injuries may present themselves in the aftermath.
If you slip and fall in a privately-owned business, or on government property, there should be procedures in place that allow for documentation. This paperwork can prove vital to your case, so make sure you request these incident reports if they aren’t automatically offered.
Steps you can take
After your slip and fall in Merrillville, it’s vital to take certain steps before you consider a lawsuit. These steps include:
- Seeking medical attention: You can’t ascertain your injuries on your own. A medical professional can provide diagnosis and suggested courses of treatment. Documentation of your medical appointments and bills will allow your Merrillville attorney to determine the amount of compensation you should seek.
- Filing an insurance claim: Before you consult an attorney, you should contact the liable party’s insurance company. You’ll be assigned a claim number and an insurance adjuster — even if the company is reluctant to pay out, this begins the legal process to a settlement.
- Collect evidence of any lost wages or loss of quality of life: Again, documentation of your suffering includes evidence of work or wages you’ve lost as a result of your slip and fall. If your accident means you can no longer participate in the life activities you previously enjoyed, you can present this evidence to strengthen your case as well. This includes any loss of consortium you’ve experienced.
Highest settlements for a slip and fall accident
Slip and fall settlements can often fall within standard insurance liability coverage guidelines. Nonetheless, the national median for slip and fall compensation is $105,000. However, if you’ve experienced permanent or life-altering injury as a result of your accident, you may receive a larger amount.
Some of the highest settlements for a slip and fall include:
- $12.2 million awarded to a woman who slipped and fell on a patch of ice outside of a Miller Mart in Williamsburg, Virginia
- $13 million awarded due to injuries a woman sustained in a fall in a Lowe’s Home Center, Las Vegas, NV
- $15 million awarded to a woman who slipped on grease in a Greely, Colorado Walmart
Contact Yosha Law after your slip and fall in Merrillville
After you’ve suffered unexpected injury In Merrillville, IN, you may find you need the guidance and support of an attorney. It’s vital that you research slip and fall lawyers in Merrillville to make the best choice for your legal needs.
At Yosha Law, we work diligently for each client. We consider our clients a part of our family, and we care deeply about fighting for the compensation they’re owed. We offer free case evaluations to explore the merits of your case, and we will stand in your corner as you navigate the path of your healing journey.
We want to help you to focus on your recovery. Leave the stress of paperwork and legal battles to us. Contact Yosha Law to set up your free consultation with a Merrillville slip and fall attorney today.