Slip and Fall or Premises Liability cases may seem simple and less problematic than other personal injury cases, yet the damages of a fall can be severe and insurance companies are unlikely to settle in good faith.
--Tom Koester, Partner, Koester & Bradley LLP
Follow These Steps to Maximize Your Recovery for Slip and Fall Cases in Illinois
Slip and fall cases, otherwise known as premises liability cases, are a type of accident can happen to anyone and at the most unexpected times. Our injury law team reviews hundreds of such claims for prospective clients each year. While it is possible for a severe fall to happen without the presence of negligence, in most situations, particularly with respect to commercial areas, such as stores and businesses, it is worth having the facts of the fall evaluated by a local premises liability attorney.
Most businesses and homes are covered by sizable insurance policies. The reasoning behind this is simple, homeowners and businesses do not want to be held personally liable for their own negligence. For instance, if a leaking air conditioning condenser leaks water onto the floor of a business, or a home, and a business invitee, or home invitee falls on the water and breaks their hip, the insurance company, not the property owner, will likely pay for the injuries to the victim. After all, insurance companies have plenty of funds, and policy owners should never feel bad about filing claims. This process both protects the property owner, and allows the victim of premises liability negligence to recover.
Despite the fact that the process is simple, insurance companies are loathe to pay any sort of claims and will do everything in their power to make sure that victims of negligence go empty-handed. This includes posting many so-called "news" stories about faked slip and fall accidents. Even though hardly anybody fakes an injury for compensations, Thus, after a slip and fall, or any sort of premises liability situation, it is important to take actions to maximize your recovery.
It is important to know what actions to take following the accident. The Central Illinois slip and fall lawyers at Koester & Bradley have found that certain elements can make a difference in these cases including the following:
- Contact emergency personnel if necessary, but absolutely file an accident or incident report with the business or property owner in writing. It is important to file a report of some kind, even if it is simply a narrative on a piece of paper. Insurance companies and defendants cling to the lack of an incident or accident report as a way to deny liability.
- Record the names, numbers, and addresses of all witnesses. This is vital because at some point, such as a trial or for a deposition, you or your lawyer will need to know what witnesses are involved. Furthermore, trials can takes years to happen in some cases and witnesses can leave the area.
- Obtain the insurance information for all parties. This mans asking the business or home owner both if they are covered and by what company. Most people do not have copies of their policy at the ready, so you or your lawyer will have to get this information from the insurance company directly.
- Photograph the scene of the accident. Smartphones are perfect for this purpose. Then the photos are readily available to insurance companies, who have a right to ask, and your lawyers.
- Hold onto all important information and documents. This can be medical bills, medical records, accident reports, or even a journal or calendar that reveals the time and place of the slip and fall.
- Speak with an experienced attorney before talking with an insurance company. The insurance company will try to hold you to a story about what happened and will try to record your statement. Refuse to talk to an insurance company without first speaking to a local premises liability lawyer.
As always out personal injury team at Koester & Bradley is here to help you recovery for your slip and fall case, or just answer any of your questions along the way.
By: Tom Koester, Partner, Koester & Bradley, LLP