What Can Lead To A Slip & Fall Lawsuit Denial And Can You Appeal?
Slip and fall accidents are more common than people realize. Likewise, the gravity of the injuries tends to be grossly underestimated. Such accidents can 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’re probably considering taking legal action that helps you win the compensation you’re entitled to, especially if you’ve become physically disabled (temporarily or permanently) and are unable to perform work tasks like before.
However, what happens when you file a lawsuit, and the slip and fall claim is denied? Is it even possible to appeal your case?
Why Can Your Slip & Fall Claim 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 for your slip and fall case. So, what do you do?
In most cases, the other party will have insurance coverage and the insurance company’s claims adjuster may tell you that responsibility for your accident is being refuted. Such denial of liability means that the defendant claims that they are not negligent. This argument counters your claim of them being responsible for your damages.
To combat the insurance company’s denial, you must be able to prove negligence on the defendant’s part; this will help you make a valid claim for compensation. If you believe you can prove negligence (in the legal sense), you can move forward with filing a lawsuit in the appropriate court of the jurisdiction with the goal of holding the responsible party to task.
Nevertheless, you must be aware that this is a tedious legal process that can take a long time. The result is never guaranteed, and your personal injury claim could be ruled against you. Some reasons why a slip & fall 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 in a timely manner.
- The property owner did not have a reasonable amount of time to fix the hazard that caused the fall in the first place.
- 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 (judge or jury) to deny your claim.
Don’t be surprised if property owners and insurance companies reject your injury claim and all responsibility related to your slip and fall accident – they are protecting their own interests after all. Also, keep in mind that insurance companies make a tremendous amount of money denying claims as a first resort because many people give up after their initial claim is turned down.
Case Of Rejection
As an example of how companies seek to avoid responsibility, consider the following.
A landscape company in Elizabeth-town filed preliminary objections in their response to a lawsuit filed by Dawn Sheehan of Lancaster. Ms. Sheehan filed a lawsuit claiming the company failed to remove the snow which led to her injury. In their objection, the company alleged that the plaintiff didn’t have sufficient evidence to raise a recklessness injury claim. Without sufficient evidence, the victim may not be able to prove negligence by the company.
It is important to realize that in a case like this the victim could potentially still hold the defendant responsible if they believe their accident was caused by negligence. So, if one component of the suit is rejected, the 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 issues 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 falls can still occur in places like:
- Apartment buildings
- Shopping malls
- Parking lots
- Retail stores
- Government buildings
- Public footpaths
Considerations When Making Slip and Falls Injury Claim
The road to seeking compensation in slip and fall cases is often 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 damages. 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 have the right to file a claim for the following reasons, among many others:
- 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 that were 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
What To Do If Your Lawsuit Is Rejected?
In order to be successful when filing a slip and fall claim, 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 could be suffering from delayed symptoms. The medical care you receive (and the accompanying medical bills) 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. Common examples include security camera recordings, police reports with details of the incident, pictures of the scene, 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 statements and contact details. Their testimony could significantly 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, the insurance provider will wash their hands of 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, the insurance company could rescind their denial and will likely make you an offer for your slip and fall injury, which can include surgery and other medical bills, rehabilitative therapy, wage losses and much more depending on the gravity of your injury.
If after an initial denial of your claim, whether in the court or through an insurance company, you still believe that your accident was caused by negligence on the part of the property owner, you should appeal this decision. However, take this step only if you follow the right processes to strengthen your claim compared to the first attempt.
Free Consultation After Slip and Fall Cases Denial
Our experienced attorneys have appealed lawsuit and claims rejected by the insurance company and won. They’ve been able to secure compensation for victims who desperately needed it to get back on their feet, both financially and emotionally. If you’re in the same situation, they can help you too.
Contact us today for a free consultation with our legal team. It will cost nothing except a bit of your time, and you’ll get the information you need to move forward with the best decision for yourself and your loved ones.