Slip and fall accidents can easily become serious long-term injuries. Although many may seem minor, these falls are consistently one of the most common causes of accidental injury in Decatur. They can cause sprains, fractures, knee and hip injuries, head injuries and more. Serious falls can even cause lifelong pain or disabilities—and all of these injuries can become expensive quickly. But you don’t have to pay out of pocket for your injury. If you slipped and fell through no fault of your own, you may be eligible for a complete financial recovery. You need to speak to a Decatur slip and fall attorney.
John Foy & Associates knows how to help. For over 20 years our firm has been helping injury victims in the Decatur area, helping them get the money they need from the insurance company. We know the tactics insurers use to avoid paying out slip and fall claims, and we have earned a reputation as the “Strong Arm” law firm for our ability to force them to pay claims. Let us give you a free consultation to discuss your case. Contact us at 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
What counts as a valid slip and fall claim in Decatur?
Under the law, if you fell and were injured through no fault of your own, you most likely have a valid claim. Unfortunately, we see many slip and fall victims who blame themselves—even if they did nothing to cause their fall. Many victims worry that they “should have noticed” the hazard that led to their fall. But this is not true. The law puts a responsibility on the owner or manager of a premises to keep it free from hazards, including tripping and slipping hazards. If they allowed any hazard and didn’t properly cordon it off or signpost it, then you are not at fault in your injury.
Common examples of valid slip and fall claims include:
- A store failed to clean up spilled product in an aisle, and you slipped while shopping
- A mall employee mopped part of the food court, but no one put up a wet floor sign, or the sign wasn’t visible from one direction of approach
- A section of walkway in front of a business is torn up for construction, but no one marked it off with cones
- A store has an unmarked step in a hard-to-see place
- A stairway is poorly lit
- Boxes are placed in a poorly lit hallway, creating a stumbling hazard
All of these examples could lead to a successful injury claim because they all involve “negligence” on the part of the owner or staff. Negligence doesn’t mean that anybody wanted to cause the injury. It simply means that someone was careless and their carelessness led to someone getting hurt. The law does not punish this kind of negligence; it does, however, require that their insurance pay for the injury.
What should I do if I slip and fall in Decatur?
We recommend documenting your injury and taking basic steps to ensure that your rights are respected. This is often referred to as “being your own advocate” and it can make all the difference in how strong your case is. Some basic steps you can take include:
- Report the injury. The store manager, business owner, or property owner should know that an injury happened. This creates a record of the injury from the beginning.
- Take pictures or video. The more documentation there is of what happened, the better. Pictures have an advantage over a written report because they can clearly show the hazard or obstacle that caused the fall. Pictures can also include your injury itself, and the broader area showing the lack of warning signs.
- Talk to any witnesses. In many injury claims, the insurance company will quickly try to spin what happened to make it look like there was no hazard or even to blame you, the victim. But having an eyewitness account provides an objective, third-party version of what happened. Talk to people nearby and, if anyone saw the fall or the obstacle that caused it, ask them for their contact information.
- See a doctor. When you go to a doctor right away after your injury, it does two important things. First, it means you get treatment right away, potentially preventing a minor injury from becoming something more serious. Second, it creates a trail of medical documentation showing that you treated your injury as a serious matter from the start. This prevents the insurance company from blaming you or minimizing your injury.
Perhaps the most important thing you can do is to simply watch how you talk about your injury. Don’t apologize to the store owner or anyone else. Even though you mean well, this creates the impression that you did something wrong—which you did not. Likewise, don’t rush to assure anyone that you’re “fine.” These words can later be used against you.
What if my fall happened at a loved one’s home? Do I have to sue them?
You do not have to blame your friend or loved one, and you don’t have to take them to court. You should, however, file your claim. The claim is against your loved one’s insurance company (under the homeowner’s insurance policy). You do not have any claim against your friend and they will not have to pay anything out of pocket. Their insurance will pay for it.
How long do I have to file my claim in Decatur?
The City of Decatur uses timelines set by both state and federal law. The timelines are different for different types of cases. In some cases you will have up to two years from the date of your injury to file a claim; in other cases the timeline is much shorter, even a matter of weeks. The local courts will generally turn away any case that misses the deadline, even if you only miss it by a matter of days. This is why we urge you to talk to a lawyer immediately.
Talk to a Decatur Slip and Fall Lawyer for Free
Recovering from an injury is hard enough without adding financial stress to the equation. Don’t pay out of pocket for something that’s not your fault. Let John Foy & Associates give you a FREE consultation on your case. We will answer your questions, help you determine if you have a claim, and help you choose the next steps that are right for you. Call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.