This is the next post in a series discussing slip and fall cases in Fort Worth, Texas. The last article provided an overview of the issues that commonly arise in these matters. It also stressed the importance of retaining an experienced personal injury attorney to represent your interests. This article will address a topic that can be overwhelming to accident victims: dealing with insurance companies after the incident occurs. If you have been injured, contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
A Fort Worth slip and fall attorney will deal directly with an insurance company on your behalf
If you have been harmed on someone else’s property, it is imperative to retain a qualified lawyer quickly after the accident. It is not uncommon for the property owner’s insurance company to contact the injured person soon after the event to get a statement. Because the adjuster represents the owner, you should be cautious when speaking to them. Once your attorney is engaged, he or she will notify the defendant and their counsel that you have obtained legal representation. From that point forward, the attorney will work one-on-one with the insurance adjuster to attempt to obtain a settlement of your case.
The attorney will collect evidence to share with the insurance company to demonstrate the property owner’s liability and support the victim’s damages claims. Counsel will quickly conduct an investigation of the incident. Doing so as soon as possible after the event may be extremely helpful. For example, there may be security camera footage of the accident. In many cases, property owners only retain security footage for a certain period of time. If a request is made too late, this valuable evidence may be lost. Interviews of witnesses should also be conducted soon after the injury to ensure the statements are as accurate as possible.
Dealing with insurance companies in Fort Worth slip and fall cases can be a lengthy process
Before counsel can present a settlement demand to the insurance company, the parties must ascertain the victim’s long-term medical prognosis. Depending upon the severity of the injuries, it may take a significant period of time to obtain this information. For example, if the person suffers a spinal cord injury, it may require several surgical procedures and therapy before the medical professionals understand the long-term impact. In a situation such as this, the attorney and the insurance company may enter a holding pattern until the prognosis can be determined.
It is not unusual for the insurance company to refuse to settle a slip and fall case. Adjusters can insist on litigating the claims in court. Disputes over whether an owner is responsible or whether the injuries were pre-existing, for example, are hotly contested. Having counsel with experience in personal injury matters will be essential to navigating the settlement and litigation process. We recommend retaining a firm with multiple attorneys who are Board Certified in Personal Injury Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. The firm should also have the necessary financial resources to retain experts on your behalf and the personnel to conduct a thorough investigation. This guidance applies in Fort Worth and surrounding areas of Texas.