What Should I Do If I Am Injured In A Premises Liability Case?
If you have been injured, you have to be very careful because you can unintentionally do certain things that could destroy your case. If you are able, take some pictures of the scene where the accident occurred. If there are any witnesses, get their names and phone numbers, so that your investigator or the lawyer’s investigator can obtain statements from them. Do not discuss the matter with anyone. If you get a call from an insurance company, do not give any recorded statements.
Seek medical help as soon as you can. You may want an ambulance to take you to an urgent care or emergency room. Make sure you give the doctor all of your complaints. It’s not what you tell me that matters; it’s what you tell the doctor and what’s in his or her records that matters. You should call or see a lawyer as soon as you can so that you’ll know what kind of a matter you have and what you can do. It may not immediately be a case, but it could become one. The lawyer may have to hire an investigator or accident reconstructionist in order to build a case. I would say that slip and fall cases are peculiar cases. They seem so simple and so obvious, but they are not. I would seek a lawyer who has experience handling these types of cases.
Make notice to the store owner that you fell. They’ll give you a form, and you need to be careful with how you answer the questions on it; answer them in your favor. In other words, if you have three injuries that you know of, don’t list two injuries. You may not want to talk about why you fell, but if you do, then you should keep it simple. For example, if there was a leaky pipe, then just say that you slipped on the water from the leaky pipe. Keeping the details to a minimum will protect you. Then speak with a lawyer and try to get pictures of any of your injuries. The sooner a good lawyer gets started on your case, the better results you will have. If you are taken to the hospital right after the fall, make sure that you give them all of your complaints on the intake so that they know how seriously you were hurt.
How Long Do I Have To File A Premises Liability Claim?
Every state has different time limits for filing premises liability claims. In Arizona, you have two years from the date that you fall to file an initial complaint with the court. Claims against municipalities are very tricky. There are six-month notices required and a total of one year to serve the complaint. It’s a different world when you are dealing with municipal buses or municipal buildings, and if that is your scenario, then you should obtain a lawyer. If you miss the time limit, then you will have no case. There are very few excuses to extend the time period. Most of the time, the cases are thrown out. Lawyers who do this for a living have to be very careful that they document everything so that they don’t miss any time limits to file something.
How Long Does A Premises Liability Case Typically Take To Get Resolved?
A small case, such as a sprain (which a lawyer probably wouldn’t take because fighting it would cost more than the recovery) could resolve after six months to a year. In a more serious case, such as one involving broken bones or surgery, then you try to use as much of the two years as you can in order to develop the case, have the surgeries done and determine what other surgeries are needed. You don’t want to miss any serious injuries. You want to be looked at by the eye doctor if you’ve been hurt in the eyes. You want to be looked at by the orthopedic doctor if surgery is needed. You want to be looked at by a plastic surgeon if there are any unsightly wounds. These things take time, because doctors and the healing process can be slow.
A good lawyer’s honest job is to slow a client down when they are just desperate for money. I can understand that desperation; when you don’t have money, can’t work and need to feed yourself and your family, you want to take whatever amount of money you can. A lawyer is not allowed to lend clients monies while cases are being developed. They pay for the costs and they can get you medical care on a lien basis (meaning that the doctor gets paid at the end), but they can’t feed you and they can’t pay your rent. They can only try to work out arrangements with the landlord and get them to wait.
I’ve been hired by clients who had very good cases, but who didn’t have enough money to wait for a fair settlement. Loans are very expensive for the average person to obtain. There are services that lend money to people until the case is done, but the amount of interest they charge is very high and you can end up with a huge bill by the time the case is done. If a verdict is appealed, then the case could take another year to get resolved. It’s the lawyer’s skills and resources that keep you alive while the case is pending. The lawyer simultaneously develops the case so that you will recover for all of your present and future injuries. A good lawyer is also a very good juggler, compassionate, aware of your misery and aware of your lack of monies.
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