After a slip and fall accident, it's crucial to take certain steps to protect your health, well-being, and potential legal claims. Here's a detailed guide on what to do after such an incident and why promptly contacting an attorney promptly is important, you believe you may have been seriously injured.
Immediate Actions After a Slip and Fall Accident:
Seek Medical Attention:
Priority: Your health is the top priority. Seek medical attention immediately, even if injuries seem minor. Some injuries may not manifest symptoms right away.
Documentation: Medical records can serve as crucial evidence if you decide to pursue a legal claim.
Report the Incident:
Notify Property Owner or Manager: Report the incident to the property owner, manager, or an employee. Ensure they document the details. Request a copy for your records.
Photographs: Take pictures of the accident scene, including the hazard that caused the fall. Capture any relevant details such as wet floors, uneven surfaces, or inadequate lighting.
Witness Information: Collect names and contact details of any witnesses. Their statements can strengthen your case.
Preserve Clothing and Footwear:
Do Not Admit Fault:
Caution: Avoid making statements that admit fault, whether to the property owner, insurance companies, or anyone else. Stick to the facts when describing the incident. You should be careful about what you say and who you speak with since your statements can be misinterpreted. As such, it is often in your best interest to retain legal counsel quickly who can communicate on your behalf.
Document Your Recollection:
Details: Write down your account of the incident while it's fresh in your memory. Include details such as time, date, weather conditions, and any conversations with witnesses or the property owner.
Why You Should Promptly Contact an Attorney:
Preservation of Evidence:
Time Sensitivity: Evidence can degrade or be lost over time. Prompt legal action helps in preserving crucial evidence, such as surveillance footage, maintenance records, records of prior accidents, and evidence scene conditions.
Statute of Limitations:
Legal Time Constraints: There is a limited time in which you must file a personal injury claim or workers compensation claim, known as the statute of limitations. Consulting an attorney promptly ensures you don't miss this window.
Evaluation of Case: Attorneys can assess the strength of your case based on their legal expertise. They can advise you on the potential for a successful claim and guide you through the legal process. They can also help determine who may be the responsible parties, since it is not always obvious who may be responsible for the accident.
Communication with Insurance Companies:
Representation: Having an attorney can help you navigate communication with insurance companies. They can handle negotiations and ensure that you don't inadvertently say something that could be used against you.
Understanding Damages: Attorneys can help you understand the types of damages you may be entitled to, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Representation: If your case goes to court, an attorney will be your advocate, presenting your case professionally and persuasively.
Remember that consulting with a lawyer doesn't commit you to filing a lawsuit, but it provides you with valuable information and guidance on how to protect your rights and interests following a slip and fall accident, especially if you believe you have sustained serious injuries.
What is the Cost of Hiring a Slip and Fall Attorney in New Jersey:
Most, if not all, slip and fall accident attorneys in New Jersey represent clients on a contingency basis whereby the attorney only gets paid a legal fee if money is recovered for the client. Typically, the legal fee charged is calculated by first calculating the client’s “net recovery” and then calculating the legal fee from the net recovery.
The net recovery is the total or gross recovery (the amount of money the client receives) after subtracting court costs and other expenses such as the cost of obtaining records and paying expert witnesses is deducted. The legal fee is then ordinarily calculated as follows:
33 1/3% on the first $750,000 of the net recovery;
30% on the next $750,000 of the net recovery;
25% on the next $750,000 of the net recovery;
20% on the next $750,000 of the net recovery; and
an amount to determined by the court on any additional part of the net recovery.
When the amount recovered is for the benefit of a client who is a minor or mentally incapacitated, the contingent fee charged is usually the same except in cases where the claim is settled before a jury was empaneled or, in a bench trial where there is no jury, the start of plaintiff's opening statement or the testimony of the first witness. In those limited situations, the contingent fee is capped at 25% of the net recovery.
Clients also have the right to retain counsel based upon the attorneys’ hourly rates. However, the legal fees and costs that would often been incurred, as well as the client’s desire to ensure that the client’s interests and the attorney’s interest in the case are financially intertwined results in clients hiring lawyers on a contingency basis for the vast majority of personal injury cases in New Jersey.
The attorneys at Kemeny, Ramp & Renaud, LLC are available to assist you. We provide free consultations for people injured as a result of slip and fall accidents as well as other accidents. Call us at (732) 853-1725 to schedule a consultation. Visit our website at: www.KemenyLaw.com