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4 Things Insurance Companies Don’t Want You to Know About Slip-and-Fall Injuries

April 07, 2021

Slip and fall injuries are relatively common – slick floors and out-of-place objects are part of life. Unfortunately, these accidents sometimes result in serious medical problems, not to mention financial and emotional expense.

If you slip and fall in a public place, like a store or a restaurant, you might be eligible for compensation. However, the insurance companies aren’t likely to make that process easy.

This article explores the basics of slip and fall injuries and how you can go about getting financial compensation in Alabama.

We’ll also share a few things the insurance companies might not want you to know about this kind of claim. Finally, we’ll discuss how an experienced attorney can help you navigate the entire situation.

Know the Basics: Alabama Slip-and-Fall Injuries

Stores and restaurants see a lot of foot traffic and rearrangement. Generally, property owners and managers have systems for keeping walkways clear and dry. However, from a ripple in the carpet to floors wet from winter boots, small problems can become dangerous for customers.

Common causes of slips and falls include (but are not limited to):

  • Wet spots from spills or leaks
  • Fixtures, such as drains and vents
  • Tears, wrinkles, or corners of rugs and carpets
  • Uneven sidewalks or floors
  • Icy walkways
  • Aging stairways
  • Misplaced objects or temporary obstacles
  • Poor lighting

As we said, situations that increase the chance of falling are simply part of life. Still, property owners are expected to observe regular practices of cleaning and repairing anything that could pose a risk to customers. At the same time, a slip and fall injury does not automatically mean the property owner is legally at fault.

So, what happens if you get hurt in a restaurant or store?

Ultimately, liability comes down to a thorough understanding of responsibility for the specific event:

  • If the property owner (or an employee) caused the dangerous surface/item, knew about the risk but didn’t work to repair it, or should have known about the issue as part of the reasonable measures taken to maintain safety, the property owner may be at fault.
  • If the injured party was in an area not open to customers, ignoring warning signs, or moving inappropriately for the conditions (such as running, jumping, etc.), the property owner may not be at fault.

Two major factors will influence your ability to secure financial compensation after an Alabama slip-and-fall injury:

  1. The statue of limitations sets a time limit on how long you have to file a lawsuit after the accident. In Alabama, you have two years from the day of the fall itself. After that, the chance of any compensation is off the table.
  2. The contributory negligence rule (still observed in Alabama) requires that a property owner bear 100% of responsibility for the slip and fall in order for the injured party to be awarded compensation. This differs from the comparative negligence rule (observed by most other states), which simply reduces financial compensation based on the percentage of fault.

Related: How Is Liability Determined in Slip-and-Fall Cases in Alabama?

4 Tools and Tactics Insurance Companies Don’t Want You to Know About

Because slip and fall injuries are so common, the insurance companies know how to deal with them. Their main goal is to protect their bottom line. While they strive to protect the reputations of their insured clients and take care of claims quickly, saving the insurance company money is the priority.

With that as the goal, insurance companies, and the adjusters who work directly with claimants, sometimes use tools and tactics they’d rather you didn’t know.

1. Use of Computer Programs to Analyze Claims

Most insurance companies use computer programs to analyze the details of personal injury claims. Colossus is the most commonly used program, and it’s known to have significantly reduced the compensation people receive for bodily injuries. At the same time, it saves the insurance company money on labor and payouts.

2. Even Your Own Insurance Company’s Adjuster is Not Your Friend

Insurance adjusters don’t personally want to make things more difficult for you, but their job is to save their employer money. Typically, adjusters are trained by insurance negotiators and lawyers who understand both the law and psychology – they know how to get away with paying you as little as possible.

Beware of adjusters asking for recorded statements or saying you don’t need an attorney. These are tactics to get you to admit some blame for the accident and to keep you from getting the legal help that could secure more compensation.

Even adjusters from your own insurance company, while not concerned with the reputation of the restaurant or store where you fell, are not looking to spend more money.

It’s important to stay calm when you talk to any insurance adjuster. If they sense frustration or desperation, they may use it against you.

3. Using IME Doctors

An adjuster may say they’re going to schedule an independent medical exam (IME) to determine how to handle your claim. Any doctor performing this kind of exam should be unbiased, but often they’re actually working for the insurance company, and they’re being paid to find reasons to question your slip-and-fall injury.

For example, if you end up getting an IME, the doctor might blame your injury on other back issues or an old ankle sprain. Any aspect of your medical history could be used to dispute your claim, instead of supporting it.

4. Being Pushy or Delaying the Process

As a rule, insurance companies want to get your claim taken care of quickly. However, under certain circumstances it benefits them to drag it out a bit. You might encounter a pushy adjuster, or you might have trouble connecting with one.

Pushy adjusters may suddenly state that a specific amount of money is their “best offer” or that they’ll close your claim if you don’t accept certain terms. They can also toss lowball offers your way, yet play it off like they’re being generous. All of this is to pressure you into accepting an offer that is less than you deserve.

On the other hand, an adjuster who’s trying to make you lose confidence might ignore your calls and questions or not respond to counter offers. Other adjusters only get serious when an attorney gets involved.

Do I Need a Lawyer for My Slip-and-Fall Case?

The vast majority of slip and fall personal injury cases would benefit from working with a lawyer. The mere fact that insurance companies don’t usually want injured people to work with a lawyer suggests that it will work in your favor.

In Alabama, being awarded compensation after a slip and fall in a store or restaurant isn’t easy. Experienced attorneys, such as those from the Andy Citrin team, can help with:

  • Securing a rare exception to the two-year statute of limitations
  • Creating a strong case to meet the contributory negligence rule
  • Convincing the insurance company that compensating you will be good press for the property owner

Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys recently helped Randell and his wife. As Randell guided his wife’s wheelchair through a restaurant hallway, he didn’t see that there was an unmarked step. His wife ended up falling out of her wheelchair and breaking her wrist. After the insurance company said that it wasn’t responsible for paying any of her medical bills, the frustrated couple turned to the Andy Citrin team for help. We were able to get the couple the justice they deserved.

Hear Randell’s Story

Contact Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys After a Slip and Fall Injury

Now that you know what happens if you get hurt in a restaurant or store, you know that it’s important to work with an experienced attorney. Andy Citrin’s team is able to handle complex personal injury cases, including slips and falls and other injuries in restaurants and stores.

Don’t hesitate to contact Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys with questions, for help, and to set up a free consultation. Call (251) 888-8888 or use the contact form on our website to get started!

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

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