No, you do not need a lawyer for your slip and fall case. You have a legal right to represent yourself during an insurance claim, settlement negotiations, or a personal injury lawsuit. However, working with a lawyer could provide you with a host of benefits.
Understanding the steps involved in a slip and fall case and the support a lawyer could give you may help you decide whether to proceed with or without representation.
The Legal Work You Need to Do in a Slip and Fall Case
There are many steps that go into a successful slip and fall case. These steps typically include:
Collecting Evidence of Liability
Even if the other party is clearly at fault for your accident, their insurance company may not offer you a fair settlement without evidence of their client’s liability. This evidence may need to come from:
- Surveillance or security footage of the accident
- Statements from witnesses
- Photos of your injuries or the accident scene
- Your medical records
A lawyer could collect all of this evidence on your behalf.
Collecting Evidence of Your Damages
This critical part of your case involves identifying and proving the value of the losses that you may have a legal right to recover. Depending on the details of your case, your damages may include:
- All past, current, and future accident-related medical care
- Property damage
- Lost wages for the income you couldn’t earn due to your injuries and recovery period
- Reduced earning capability
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
Some of these damages come with a receipt, while others do not. A lawyer will have knowledge of what evidence to use to assign a value to each of your damage types, including non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. Without such evidence, the insurance company may refuse to pay you a fair amount.
Speaking with the Other Parties
A slip and fall case will likely require you to speak with the other party’s insurance agents. You must be careful when doing so, as they might be able to use your statements as evidence against your claim. When you have a lawyer represent you, they will manage all of the communications on your behalf.
The paperwork in a slip and fall case needs to be submitted accurately and on time. If not, it could jeopardize your right to recover compensation.
For a free legal consultation, call (337) 777-7777
The Statute of Limitations in Louisiana
One major deadline to be aware of is the statute of limitations, or legal time limit to sue. In Louisiana, Louisiana Civil Code (CC) §3492 sets the general statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits at just one year.
Even if your goal is to receive a settlement and avoid a lawsuit, you must keep in mind that if the insurance company stalls or refuses to make you a fair offer, you may need to rely on a lawsuit to compel them to pay you. If you wait too long and lose your right to sue, you may lose your negotiating leverage against the insurance company.
Accordingly, you should monitor the statute of limitations in your case and act without delay. A lawyer can help you do this. They can also help you submit, interpret, and review all paperwork in your case, so you can be confident that you understand what it means and that it is accurate.
Slip and Fall Lawyers Work on a Contingency-Fee-Basis
Some people wish to avoid working with a lawyer out of fear that they cannot afford their services or that they may get stuck with a large out-of-pocket bill. If you find a lawyer who works on a contingency fee basis, you should not have to worry about this.
When a lawyer works for a contingent fee, it means their payment comes as a predetermined percentage of your court award or settlement offer. If you win your case, the payment goes through your lawyer, who will deduct their percentage and send you the remainder. If you do not win your case, your lawyer will not bill you for their hours. There are no upfront payments in this arrangement.
Find Out What Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers Can Do for You
We are a customer-focused firm, and if you trust us to represent you, we will make sure you are informed and supported throughout your case. We help slip and fall victims in Lafayette and operate on a contingency-fee-basis. If you would like to learn more about the legal process, your options, and our services in a free case review with our personal injury team, call Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers today at (337) 777-7777.