By law, all property owners have a duty to maintain their property so that their visitors are safe while on the premises. The property owner must post warning signs to identify any hazards that might exist. If an owner fails to maintain their property or provide ample warning, the property owner may be held financially accountable after an accident occurs.
Do I Have a Slip and Fall Case?
You have a slip and fall case if you can prove that you were injured as the result of someone else’s negligence. A slip and fall case cannot be based on intentional or reckless conduct. In fact, the legal standard for most slip and fall cases is simple negligence. The standard is just that the other party wasn’t as careful as a reasonable person should be. You only have to prove that your injuries were from the result of a negligent property owner. It’s best to contact us for a free consultation so we can discuss what happened and review your situation further. Call us or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
What Should I Do After a Slip and Fall?
What Has To Be Proven In A Slip And Fall Claim?
To win a slip and fall claim, you need to establish the property owner‘s liability for an unsafe condition. However, it can be challenging to prove the fault of the property owner. They will most likely argue that you had some or all of the fault in your accident. In order to determine whether you might be responsible for causing any portion of your injuries, here are a few things to think about:
- Did you engage in any activity that might have prevented you from noticing the hazard—talking or texting on a phone, for example—when an otherwise reasonable person would have noticed it?
- Did you have lawful access to the location where the slip and fall accident occurred?
- Were warning signs posted? Were other safety measures ignored?
If the defense can show that you likely caused the accident through your own carelessness, winning an injury claim becomes unlikely.
What Is The Typical Process When Filing a Lawsuit?
Certain aspects of the process will be different for each client but the information below is the typical process.
A Complaint Is Filed and Served on the Defendant
After establishing that a legitimate case exists, we will file a personal injury complaint in the proper civil court. The complaint is the first official document in the case, laying out in very broad detail what we are alleging. After the complaint is filed, we have about one month to locate the defendant and “serve” the complaint on him or her. Serving the complaint basically means physically delivering the complaint to the defendant in a way that can be verified, ensuring the defendant cannot later claim to not know about the lawsuit. Along with the complaint, the service papers will tell the defendant the date by which he or she must “appear” in court.
After both sides file and serve the initial documents, the parties will enter discovery. This is where evidence is exchanged. During discovery, we will send a list of questions, or interrogatories, to the defendant. The opposing lawyer may also submit a request for documents. During the discovery phase, we can request depositions, or sworn statements. We may also consult with medical experts at this time. Medical experts can help us understand your case and provide reports. If your case goes to trial, one or more of these experts may testify on your behalf.
Pretrial Motions and Hearings
Attorneys typically use pretrial motions to compel the other side to provide evidence. However, attorneys may also file motions that are aimed at resolving a case before it goes to trial. For instance, the defendant’s attorney may file a motion to dismiss all or part of a lawsuit based on a lack of evidence or jurisdiction. The plaintiff’s attorney, on the other hand, may file a motion for summary judgment. This motion would argue that the facts in the case are undisputed, and the judge should, in turn, grant immediate relief.
Mediation and Negotiation
The attorneys for both sides typically try to reach a settlement before a case goes to trial. In a settlement, the defendant agrees to pay compensation, and you would agree to release the defendant from liability. Negotiations begin by making a demand for compensation. The defendant will then typically provide an offer. Both sides may go back-and-forth several times and at this point, a mediator may be brought in. The mediator’s role is to get the parties to reach an agreement.
Most personal injury cases are resolved through settlements, but if it doesn’t, the case is scheduled for trial. A personal injury trial can last a day, a week, or even longer. At trial, the judge or jury will determine if the defendant is at fault for the accident and for the plaintiff’s losses, and if so, how much the defendant is required to pay out in damages. After trial, either party can initiate an appeals process that can last from several months to several years. After the appeals process has been exhausted, a losing defendant will be required to pay the damages established at trial or on appeal.
How Much Will This Cost Me?
Nothing if we don’t win. We only charge if we win your case. This means the only fee we will charge is a percentage of either your settlement or your jury award. The best way to get started and to learn more is by scheduling a free consultation. We can discuss the fees and any other questions you might have during the consultation.
What Expectations Does The Lawyer Have?
Upon being retained as your legal counsel‚ your attorney should expect that you will:
- Be completely honest about all facts concerning your case‚ whether or not they are favorable to you.
- Be on time for appointments and not take up an excessive amount of time with visits or phone calls relating to minor details or petty matters.
- Take his/her advice.
- Understand that no lawyer can guarantee results in a contested matter.
- Be patient and understand that legal matters are rarely “open and shut” cases; they require time and research.
What Expectations Should I Have?
You are hiring an attorney to work for you‚ as your advocate. You should expect your attorney to:
- Confer with you to pinpoint the problem.
- Analyze all available facts and information relating to your problem.
- Interview those involved.
- Negotiate a settlement if both sides can reach a fair agreement.
- Keep you informed about what is going on in your case and answer your questions.
- Discuss fees with you at your first visit‚ and come to an agreement about the way in which the fee will be paid.
- Be candid with you about your claim, your chances for success‚ the time it will take‚ and the advisability of accepting any settlement offered.
- Keep in confidence anything you say.
Fighting for You
Don’t wait to get legal advice and risk losing out on your due, contact Holliday Karatinos today to determine whether you have a claim against a negligent property owner. Holliday Karatinos is located in Lutz Florida and offers consultations in Spring Hill and all throughout the Tampa Florida area.