The Players In A Slip And Fall Case
Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Apr 12, 2011 in Advice
It is natural to be curious and uncertain when beginning the journey to a legal remedy for your slip and fall accident. The attorney you hire will do a great deal to prepare you for the process.
After contract terms and other considerations are discussed, the attorney will generally ask the plaintiff (that's you) to enter into a contract called a retainer agreement, which will define the responsibilities and roles that you and your attorney will fill during the suit. However, there are other people that you may come into contact with during the process, who are pivotal to the case.
Here are their roles, and your responsibilities in the interactions you may have.
The Defense Attorneys
The attorneys for the company or person responsible for your injury will make it a point to find a hole in your story. It is this person’s duty to ensure that their client does not pay out for the claim. So, expect the defense attorney to be abrupt with you, almost to the point of rudeness. He is just doing his job. You are not obligated to talk with the defense attorney unless your attorney advises that it is safe to do so, and in general, you should avoid it.
During a deposition, you are allowed to consult with your attorney before answering any questions.
The Insurance Adjuster
Insurance companies will probably be involved in the case, which means a chat with an insurance adjuster. The role of the adjuster is to handle the claim after each incident. They take on the role of investigator, claim processor, and sometimes even appraiser. The adjuster interviews everyone involved in the accident and may ask to take a statement from you.
Consult with your attorney first, but you will have to comply. Your lawyer may even insist that you give the adjuster a statement. Make sure that you take the time to meet with your attorney first however, and follow ALL of the advice he or she gives you. After all, the insurance adjuster does not work for you, but for the company you're trying to sue.
However, the adjuster’s report is important to the outcome of your case, so dodging the adjuster will only make things worse for the case. For larger claims, you may speak to an appraiser, investigator, and claims processor in addition to the claims adjuster, so it's important to meet with your attorney as soon as possible, to make sure you know what kinds of questions you're likely to be asked, and how to answer them.
The court will require a statement from a doctor in a slip and fall case, to prove that the fall actually caused an injury. Plaintiffs often visit more than one doctor throughout their recovery, and it's normal that you could meet with your family physician, the doctor hired by the insurance company, and possibly another doctor hired by your attorney to help determine the long-term effects and costs associated with your injury.
As with every step in the process, it's important to keep records of your meetings with physicians, and discuss the details thoroughly with your attorney.
There are many other players in a slip and fall case, including the witnesses, judges, and mediators, to name just a few. The most important player, however, is your personal injury attorney. Consult him or her before speaking with anyone about your case and never hesitate to ask about anything that may confuse you about the case.
After all, this is about obtaining a remedy for your injury.