If we slip and fall on a commercial property, our injuries will be covered, right? Unfortunately, that isn’t always true. For one woman, though, justice is still possible thanks to a recent court ruling in her favor. In her case, the court decided the facts weren’t as clear as the defendants claimed. The judge said the people of a jury should hear the evidence and decide. Why is this important, and how might it impact you if you ever slip and fall?
Four years ago, Angeline Sablan slipped and fell in the lobby of a hotel in Guam. Cases like hers usually involve little direct contact with the business and are handled through commercial property insurance. Retaining a personal injury attorney as she did can ease this process. They can file your claim and handle all interactions with insurance. They can also investigate the facts of your case for you. This can be especially beneficial if you’re unsure of exactly what happened, as Sablan was after her fall. When the attorneys for the hotel claimed that nothing could be proven, hers fought back. The judge rejected summary judgement, agreeing that there were still facts that needed to be determined by a jury. While only about 5% of slip and fall cases go to trial, it could be that a trial would be the best way to proceed in your own case.
Trials for slip and fall cases
Trials for slip and fall cases can be a drawn-out process, as any good trial lawyer would tell you. One potential issue that needs sorting in any personal injury case is the matter of comparative negligence. You might be considered partly at fault, and this will reduce your settlement by the same percentage. A business might also have a valid defense. If, for example, someone reported a wet floor, the business needs time to dry it. Sometimes, as in Ms. Sablan’s case, the insurance could claim it’s not the business’ fault. The hotel chain tried to use her inability to remember what she slipped on and what she saw against her. However, a good personal injury trial lawyer will have ways of dealing with these problems.
They can bring forward experts to establish the cause of your injuries. They can compel testimony from employees to establish the conditions at the business when you fell. In Ms. Sablan’s case, a hotel manager testified that the lobby entrance sometimes got wet, depending on the wind. Your attorney can also contest motions of the opposing attorneys. But as trials can potentially take many years, why would you want to go through all this?
When your slip and fall lawyer is presenting your case to a jury, they’re talking to people like you. Jurors may themselves have been injured or known someone who was. A good attorney can help them understand the similarities of your stories and the facts of your case. The better they do, the more likely you are to receive the settlement you need. There’s no guarantee your case will end the way you want it to. But a good trial lawyer can guide you towards that goal.
Any time a case goes to trial, the resolution is a lengthy process. For some, taking their slip and fall case to trial isn’t feasible given the demands of their lives. But consider talking to an attorney before deciding how to move ahead. Give Park Chenaur a call – we can help you get the settlement you deserve.
If you’re interested in reading more about the process of pursuing slip and fall claims, you can read more on our blog about premise liability law.
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