Premises Liability FAQ
1. I’ve been injured on someone else’s property. What should I do?
First, immediately make provision for your safety and health. If you are injured, make sure that emergency medical services (EMS) are called. Have EMS workers examine you, and if appropriate, have them transport you to an emergency room for treatment. If you are able, try to obtain the following information:
Name and address and of the property owner
Names, addresses and policy numbers for all insurance companies insuring the property
Names and addresses of all witnesses to the accident
Names and addresses of all people to whom you have reported the incident
Make sure to immediately report the incident and your injuries to the owner or other person in charge of the property. For example, if you slip and fall in a restaurant or hotel, ask to report the incident to the manager on duty. Do not assume that your injuries are too minor to report. If it turns out the injuries are more serious, then you do not want to have prejudiced your claim by failing to report the incident.
2. Should I take photos?
After you have provided for your medical care, either you or someone on your behalf should take photos of the accident scene. The condition of the premises at the time of the injury will be a pivotal issue in resolving any claim and photos can document that condition. Also, take photos of all physical injuries you have suffered (such as bruises, scrapes, lacerations, etc.).
3. Should I give a statement to the owner’s insurance company?
You should not give a statement to the owner’s insurance company before consulting with a Florida personal injury attorney experienced in handling premises liability cases. Furthermore, do not sign any paperwork submitted to you by the owner’s insurance company. In no event should you provide any type of medical release or authorization allowing the insurer to obtain your medical records.
4. When should I consult with a personal injury attorney?
If you have been injured in a premises accident, including a slip-and-fall accident, it is advisable to immediately consult a personal injury attorney experienced in such accidents. Many times, the attorney will want to have an investigator or expert make an immediate examination of the premises. The insurance company for the property owner is not your ally regardless of how cooperative or friendly it may seem. That insurance company has attorneys and other resources to try to defeat any claim you assert. To be on equal footing, you need to have an injury attorney on your side. Early consultation with an attorney can also help your case in that your attorney may be able to help investigate and document your case. Sometimes a delay results in witnesses and evidence disappearing or becoming more difficult to obtain. The opposing insurance company will be aggressively investigating your case and you need someone doing the same for you.
5. Should I seek medical treatment?
Seek medical treatment immediately. Sometimes what seems like a minor injury can worsen within hours, days or even weeks. If appropriate, be examined at an emergency room or by your family physician as soon after the accident as possible. Ultimately, the course of your medical treatment is something that you and your medical providers must determine. However, delay in seeking treatment can impact both the speed and extent of your recovery as well as the prospect of your making a damages recovery for your injuries. You should seek treatment and if not satisfied, seek a second opinion or inquire into alternate or additional types of diagnosis and treatment. Most important, follow your medical provider’s recommendations.
6. What duties does a property owner owe to me?
If you are lawfully on the property of another, especially a business open to the public, the owner (and the occupant if the owner has leased the property) owes a duty to prevent dangerous conditions and to warn of any such dangerous conditions that are not open and obvious to a reasonable person. Most of the time, the law’s application of an owner’s duty is determined by the relationship to the injured party. For example, is the injured party on the property in connection with a business purpose or as an invited person? The particular status of the injured party can affect the duty owed. Regardless of your relationship to the owner, you should seek the advice of a premises liability injury attorney to assist in investigating your claim and advising you on the duty owed and how that duty may have been breached.
7. Who will pay for my injuries?
In a premises accident, many times the owner’s insurance includes what is called medical payment benefits (Med Pay). If this coverage is available, you are entitled to have your medical bills paid regardless of whether the owner was at fault. For example, if you slip and fall while at a business, if that business has Med Pay coverage, your bills may be paid regardless of whether the owner was at fault. If there is no Med Pay coverage, you could look to your own health insurance to pay your medical bills. In addition, many times your own homeowners insurance may provide coverage for injuries you suffer. The advice of an experienced injury attorney can assist in investigating available insurance coverage and assuring that you get all benefits to which you are entitled.
At Lins Law Group, P.A., we can help you proactively engage in solutions designed to make your future better. Contact us online or call 813-280-0082 for more information and a free initial consultation.