Slip and fall accidents are more common than people realize, which could result in serious injuries like fractures, back pain, torn ligaments or even death in extreme cases. If you have suffered from a slip and fall accident that wasn’t your fault, you may want to take legal action for getting the compensation you’re entitled to, especially if you’ve been injured and are unable to perform work tasks like before. However, what happens when you file a lawsuit and the claim is denied? Is it even possible to appeal your case?
Why Can Your Lawsuit Be Denied?
If you have slipped and fallen because of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to damages. However, the other party may end up denying liability. So what do you do? In most cases, the other party will have insurance, and the liability claims adjuster may tell you that liability is being denied for your accident.
Denying liability means that the defendant claims that they are not negligent, which counters your claim of their responsibility. To combat this, you must be able to prove negligence on their part to claim compensation. You can then file a lawsuit with the court of law in your jurisdiction to hold the responsible party to task. But you must be aware that this is a tedious process and can take a long time, with a result that may or may not necessarily be ruled in your favor. Some reasons why your lawsuit can be denied include:
- Your claim wasn’t supported sufficiently with evidence.
- You failed to acquire your medical records or didn’t have them at all.
- You failed to inform the owner/property manager of the incident.
- You were unable to gather enough witnesses to prove your accident.
- You may have been using your phone or were unnecessarily distracted at the time of your accident.
All these instances can lead to insurers and even the court, denying your claim. Don’t be surprised if property owners and insurance companies deny your claim and all responsibility related to your slip and fall accident – they are protecting their own interests after all. Insurance companies make a tremendous amount of money by denying claims at first go because many people give up after their claim has been denied.
Case Of Rejection
As an example to explain how companies seek to avoid responsibility, a landscape company in Elizabeth-town filed preliminary objections in their response to a lawsuit filed by Dawn Sheehan of Lancaster who claimed that they failed to remove snow, which led to her injury. According to them, the plaintiff doesn’t have sufficient evidence to raise a recklessness claim against them and are seeking to have it withdrawn from the lawsuit. Without sufficient evidence, she may not be able to prove negligence against the company.
It is important to realize that in a case like this the complainant could potentially still hold them responsible if they believe their accident was caused by negligence. Once the claim is denied, next step is to find new ways to prove that the property owner was negligent and failed to meet recommended safety guidelines.
Where Do Accidents Likely Occur?
Slip and fall accidents can occur anywhere, but they usually take place because of some issue with the flooring, which could be the result of negligence on the part of a property or store-owner. While managers and owners of these properties have a duty to ensure a safe space for people, slip and fall accidents can still occur in places like:
- Apartment buildings
- Shopping malls
- Parking lots
- Retail stores
- Government buildings
- Public footpaths
Considerations When Making A Slip and Fall Accident Claim
The road to seeking compensation for your slip and fall accident is long and difficult. You need to prove that your accident claim is valid and that it wasn’t because of negligence on your part. For example, if you were busy texting while your accident took place, then it’s almost impossible to blame a property owner for your accident. But if you were walking carefully and lost your footing on a slippery, soap-lathered floor, then you may be eligible to file a lawsuit for your accident. You may file a claim for the following reasons:
- You slipped and fell because of fluids or food on the floor
- You walked through an area wet with slippery soap water
- You tripped over loose wires or misplaced items strewn on the floor
- You missed a step and slipped because of poor lighting
- You lost your footing on an uneven floor
- You fell down a flight of broken stairs
If you have fallen for any of these reasons, you may be eligible to file a slip and fall claim.
What To Do If Your Lawsuit Is Rejected?
In order to be successful when filing a slip and fall lawsuit, you need documented evidence to prove your case against the property owner or manager. Even if the court denies your lawsuit initially for lack of sufficient evidence, the law allows you to make an appeal to re-open your case. The evidence must prove that your injury needs compensation. If you are injured in a slip and fall accident, it’s important to follow these specific steps to ensure that your claim is strong:
- Get medical attention immediately, irrespective of how you’re feeling because you may be suffering from delayed symptoms. The medical care you receive will also create a record of your injuries, which you can use to strengthen your claim.
- Get your doctors to provide written opinions of your particular condition, especially if your initial claim missed this.
- Seek adequate evidence to support your claim, which may include cameras, details of the incident, pictures etc.
- Collect sufficient proof to showcase that the property owner knew about the accident spot in advance.
- Identify whether any witnesses were present on site at the time of your accident and gather their statement and contact details, which you may use to strengthen your claim.
- File a formal lawsuit in the court of law with the help of your personal injury lawyer to convince the judge to rule in your favor.
- Request for copies of records and documents that were used in making the decision to deny your claim, so that you can counter them during your appeal.
- Examine your denial letter carefully and make a note of any deadlines that you need to adhere to when filing your appeal because any missed deadlines could cause your claim to fail completely.
- Getting written statements from colleagues and employers explaining how the accident has taken away your ability to work. You can even get vocational experts to testify about how your condition has impacted your ability to work normally.
Where Does The Compensation Come From?
In most cases, compensation for your slip and fall accident comes from the insurance company of the property owner who must be persuaded in the first instance. But more often than not, they wash their hands off all responsibility or offer you far less than you need.
If you’re able to come up with sufficient evidence to prove negligence with facts developing, the insurance company may rescind their denial and will likely make you an offer for your slip and fall injury, which may include hospital expenses, medical reimbursements, wage losses and much more depending on the gravity of your injury.
Appealing any decision to deny your claim, whether in the court or through an insurance company, is worth appealing if you believe that your accident was caused by negligence on the part of the property owner, as long as you follow the right processes to strengthen your claim compared to the first filing trial.