Imagine that you walk into a store and end up tripping over a pallet of goods that was left sitting in the middle of the sales floor. This is obviously negligence on the part of the store owner and you should have a good chance of winning a lawsuit against them, correct? Think again. There are some aspects of slip and fall injury claims that people generally seem to understand very poorly and that may need to be cleared up before you file your own claim.
Negligence and Proving It
When you suffer a slip and fall injury at a commercial or private space, you have to prove that the property owner was negligent somehow. There is no “obvious” negligence that you can simply point out and rely upon to ensure a jury award.
When you hire an attorney, even if the negligence on the part of the property owner seems obvious enough to you, remember that your attorney will have to establish that negligence to a jury and that it may take real skill for them to do so. This is only one reason why you need a good attorney.
Settlements Are Common
When you hire an attorney, you’ll have to pay for them to put together your claim and to argue it in front of a jury. Whether or not you do this under a contingency agreement, the attorney does need to get paid. Many slip and fall cases, however, never actually make it in front of a jury.
A settlement happens when the defendant is certain enough that you’re going to win your claim that they offer to pay you instead of being taken to court. The settlement will be for less than you’re seeking in court, but you don’t have to pay the attorney’s fees for going to court and you’re guaranteed the payout, which is not the case if you’re going in front of a jury.
Even though most of these claims do settle out of court, remember that you’ll want to consult with an attorney before you take a settlement. The defendant may offer you a settlement that is actually far too little in consideration of the injuries you suffered and that is where an attorney can step in and make sure you don’t end up ripped off because of being too eager to get a payout. You may be offered the settlement before you get an attorney, but you should still consult with a lawyer about taking it.