Personal injury is one of the broadest areas of practice in the legal profession. A simple definition for this type of tort lawsuit describes it as a physical or emotional injury that is caused by the negligence of another. The most common personal injury suits are filed after a plaintiff sustains a bodily injury. Emotion distress is also a sueable offense, although it is generally much harder to prove.
Taking a header
In the right context, taking a spill, stumble, tumble, or even falling flat on one’s face can be quite funny. Think of how many great comedic actors earned their spurs and thousands of laughs by perfecting the pratfall. Of course, it’s only humorous as long as nobody gets hurt, and tens of thousands of Americans are injured in real falls each. In most cases, those flops are simply accidents that no one could have prevented. But on occasion, negligence was involved in the slip and fall and subsequent injury.
Where they happen
As you might expect, these accidents can and do occur just about everywhere, at public and private place, indoors and out. All things being equal of course, they are more likely to occur in crowded, dangerous areas. For example, slip and falls happen all the time on huge cruise ships and on construction sites. That said, many people trip and hurt themselves on uneven sidewalks while they’re walking alone.
As with any lawsuit, you must contact a reputable lawyer to help you determine if you have a winnable case. The following five questions will make things easier on both you and your potential attorney by getting directly to the meat of the matter.
1. Was I injured badly enough to sue?
If a slip and fall results in a minor injury, say an ankle sprain that causes you to miss a day of work and does not require medical treatment, odds are it will not pay to contact a South Florida slip and fall lawyer. No, there isn’t a magic number, since most of these cases are based on personal income, pain and suffering, and medical expenses. However, if your injury did not require you to see a doctor, a lawyer may not take you seriously. There simply isn’t much money in a case where the plaintiff sustained only a minor injury.
Furthermore, most South Florida slip and fall lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means they don’t get paid unless you get paid. So, doing work for free only makes sense if the chances of receiving damages or a settlement are good.
2. Can you prove negligence?
This question might take a bit longer to answer, since the attorney must carefully examine your case before he can proffer his professional opinion. If he answers in the affirmative, there’s a pretty good chance you have a solid lawsuit, since most of all these cases hinge on this single question. More often than not, the lawyer must demonstrate that the defendant was aware of the issue that caused the slip and fall, whether it was a worn or uneven surface or a spill, and did nothing to address it in a timely manner.
3. What is your success rate with cases like mine?
Whenever you interview an attorney, always remember that you are the client, you’re hiring him. Therefore, you have the right to ask blunt, pointed questions about their past cases. For a South Florida work accident lawyer, inquire about their recent cases and the outcomes, including settlements and damages awards.
4. How long will my lawsuit take to settle?
Your attorney won’t be able to give you a firm date and time, of course. But he should be able to give you a ballpark estimate after he examines the facts of your cases, especially if he has filed similar lawsuit in the past. Because these cases almost always involve negotiations between lawyers and the defendants’ insurance companies, they can last anywhere from a couple of months to a couple of years.
5. Are there any possible, even expected complications?
Slip and fall cases range from the mundane to the strange, which means there’s often a lot of room for unexpected issues to crop up. As the plaintiff, it is always best to know from the start whether or not your South Florida work accident lawyer believes that your lawsuit is fraught with potential pitfalls.