A large number of personal injury claims arise from injuries in department stores, restaurants, grocery stores and other such public places. Often, negligence and poor maintenance are the main reasons for these accidents though many businesses have tried to improve safety. Slip and fall injuries can be serious and produce permanent harm. People who have suffered a slip and fall injury may need a lawyer to present their case and obtain maximum compensation. To prove damages, the lawyer will obtain and organize all the relevant medical records. Most lawyers utilize medical record review services to organize and review the medical records, and prepare a medical case summary. In case the medical records do not contain legally sufficient evidence that the accident caused the conditions the claimant is suffering from, the lawyer may write to the treating doctor requesting him/her to write a medical letter or report to establish causation. The lawyer would also carefully take note of the client’s suffering and pain so that the case can be presented in the most favorable manner to the insurer.
A personal injury lawyer has to prove liability and damages and therefore he/she will identify each factor that can have positive as well as negative impact on liability and damage. It has to be proved that the defendant was negligent and that this negligence had a role to play in causing the injury of the claimant.
In any slip and fall claim, time is crucial. The time for filing a lawsuit depends on the personal injury statute of limitations in each U.S. state. For instance, in Texas and California the time limit is 2 years whereas in New York it is 3years. In most states this time period varies from 2 to 4 years, whereas in Maine, Minnesota and North Dakota it is 6 years. Oregon allows 10 years while Kentucky, Louisiana and Tennessee have a time period of 1 year. This time limit signifies the amount of time an applicant has to get a personal injury lawsuit started. For any applicant, it is important to be fully aware of the statute of limitations in their state – i.e., the deadline to get their case started in the civil court system or filing the initial complaint. The case does not need to be resolved before the deadline.
Most states have provisions to extend the statute of limitations. It can be extended if:
- The defendant left the state after the accident occurred
- The plaintiff was a minor, or
- Was mentally ill/disabled for a period of time after the accident
Another exception to the statute of limitations is the “discovery” rule. This is applicable in situations where the claimant did not immediately become aware about the injury and the fact that the defendant’s actions may have resulted in the injury.
Typically, if a case is well represented, the claimant receives compensation for medical expenses, for the suffering and pain, and for the income lost from being unable to work.