Wilson Law Office - October 2019

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October 2019

After the Fall You Can Make a Difference

If you slip and fall in Indiana, surprisingly few lawyers will come running to your aid. That’s because proving you have a claim in this state can be surprisingly difficult — there’s a reason new insurance headquarters seem to spring up all the time in Indianapolis. Even in cases where you’ve clearly been hurt by a bad fall, you may struggle to secure even meager compensation for your injuries. Not many attorneys are willing to risk this uphill battle, but you have the power to change that. The site where you slipped likely won’t stay the same forever. Water will be mopped up, ice will melt, and warning signs will be posted in the time it takes you to seek treatment and return to the scene of the fall. Thus, one of the most important things you can do is take pictures in the moment. Do your best to document the hazard that caused your fall, as well as the surrounding area (to prove there were no posted warning signs). Get Contemporary Evidence

Also, if any bystanders saw you fall and asked if they could help, get their name and phone number. Like pictures, eyewitnesses can be an invaluable asset to your claim, but they can be hard to track down. That’s why getting their contact information in the moment is so crucial. It’s the best way to ensure you or your lawyer can find them later and get their testimony. The insurance agency’s lawyers will try their best to call every detail of your fall into question. Securing this contemporary information will hold them to the truth of your case. On top of risking further injury, not seeking immediate medical treatment may sink your claim entirely. A very common insurance company tactic is to imply that anyone who didn’t rush themselves to the doctor’s office must not be in that much pain after all. In reality, there are plenty of reasons seriously injured individuals may put off going to the doctor, fear of being unable to pay for treatment chief among them. Unfortunately, Seek Treatment

most juries are more likely to believe the company’s narrative on this issue. The best way to protect your health and your claim is to get yourself checked out by a professional immediately.

Consult a Lawyer First

After you report the fall to the property owner, their insurance company will likely contact you for a statement. These “interviews” are minefields of “gotcha” questions that can lead you to inadvertently throw your own account of events into question. Ideally, you’ll want to consult a personal injury attorney with experience in slip-and-fall statements before having this conversation. They can help prepare you for how to earnestly answer these questions without falling into any traps. If you can’t get ahold of an attorney in time, then the best thing you can do is be brief and direct with your answers. Statements like, “I think there was ice,” or, “I thought I felt myself slip,” can come back to bite you. The insurance lawyers will latch onto these half-answers and use them to suggest your memory of events can’t be trusted. Obviously, be honest and be confident in your recollection of events, no matter how they try to make you question yourself. These actions can make all the difference in your case. Without them, even the best lawyer will stand a slim chance of defending your side of the story. So, as the weather gets colder, remember: You may not be able to protect yourself from a surprise fall, but you can take steps to protect your rights in the aftermath.

-Tom Wil son

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