How Do I Prove to the Insurance Company that I was not Careless?
A person who has been involved in a slip and fall accident may find themselves confronted by the representative of the property owner’s insurance company before he is even done receiving initial medical treatment. It is the job of these representatives to minimize or eliminate liability, so they will try to make you admit to having some or all of the responsibility for the fall, even if this is completely untrue. Your best bet is to retain experienced attorneys like Lundy Law in order to avoid jeopardizing your legal rights.
The people who try to get you to admit being partially at fault are doing so because they know that you lose your right to recover in states like Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware, which follow the “modified comparative fault” model of allocating liability, if your contribution to the accident was fifty percent or more. It is critical not to provide any information that can be used to support this argument.
Here are some of the factors that the other side might try to use against you:
- They may argue that you did not have a legitimate reason for being in the place where the accident occurred. You need to show that you were in a place where your presence reasonably should have been anticipated and that the negligence of the owner in that location caused the harm that you suffered.
- The owner’s representatives might claim that a careful person would have seen the hazard and avoided it or would have walked over it in such a manner as to avoid falling. It is imperative to refute this with documentation from the site of the accident and witness statements, if possible.
- Allegations may be made that there were warning signs or barriers that were ignored. Again, it is important to have pictures or video from the accident site to countermand these assertions.
- They may try to prove that you were distracted, which is a very popular form of attack in the age of cell phones and other electronic devices. The owner also may claim that you were acting in a manner that made an accident more likely, for example running across the hazardous surface or fooling around in some manner.
The fact is that you do not have to prove that you were being careful at the time of the accident, but any evidence of carelessness will be used against you during settlement negotiations or the potential court case. This is one of the many reasons why it is important to not speak directly with the insurance company or appointed representative whose sole purpose is to minimize the award that you receive.
If you are involved in a slip and fall accident, you should:
- Take pictures of the site of the accident and any resulting injuries;
- Record the names and contact information for as many witnesses as possible;
- Obtain the names of the owners and managers of the business or property;
- Preserve the clothes and footwear that you had on at the time of the accident;
- Get immediate medical attention;
- Avoid making any statements about fault;
- Decline to give recorded statements to insurance adjusters without counsel; and
- Retain experienced slip and fall accident attorneys.
Having an accident leads to stress, especially if the responsible party is trying to make you feel like you are to blame. The compassionate and dedicated attorneys at Lundy Law are ready to fight for your rights. We want to help you understand your legal rights and will represent you with our No Fee Assurance, which means that you do not pay us anything unless we win your case. To get started, please do not hesitate to call us at 1-800-LundyLaw or fill out our free online consultation form.