If a business or property owner’s negligence caused you to suffer injuries in a slip and fall accident, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries under Virginia law. However, it can be confusing to file a claim with an insurance company and go through the process of settling your case.
You should retain an experienced premises liability lawyer to file your claim and negotiate your settlement. It is still important to understand the steps they will take to resolve your claim so you do not get frustrated if it takes longer than you expected.
Investigation of Your Claim
The first step that your attorney will take is to investigate the cause of your slip and fall accident and collect your medical records and wage loss documents. In determining whether the owner is responsible for compensating you, they will consider:
- Who had control of the property at the time of your fall
- Whether you had permission to be on the property
- Whether a dangerous condition existed on the property
- Whether the owner or other party in control of the property knew or should have known about the hazardous condition
- Whether your injuries were caused by the dangerous condition
File Your Claim
Your attorney will file your claim on your behalf. They will write the insurance company a demand letter detailing how your fall occurred, what injuries you suffered, and the amount of compensation you deserve. They may not make this initial demand until you fully recover from your injuries or recover as much as you will so that they include all your future damages in the amount of compensation they are requesting on your behalf.
Investigation and Counteroffer by the Insurance Company
The insurance adjuster may have already opened a file and started investigating your accident if the insured reported your fall to them. If not, they will conduct their own investigation once your attorney files your claim.
After they complete their investigation, they will respond to your lawyer’s letter in writing. They will most likely make a much lower counteroffer for settling your claim. You do not have to accept this offer, and this will probably not be the last offer.
Your lawyer will review the insurance adjuster’s response and determine if they need to collect additional evidence to send the insurance company. You may need to hire an expert witness to refute certain arguments made by the insurance adjuster.
A lawyer would submit this additional information and make a new counteroffer. It may take a few more rounds of negotiations before your attorney receives a settlement offer that they would recommend you accept.
If the insurance company refuses to budge on paying you less than you deserve or the time period to sue, referred to as the statute of limitations, will expire soon, your lawyer will file a civil lawsuit on your behalf. While this could make it take even longer to settle your case, it is still very likely that the insurance company will agree to a reasonable offer before your scheduled jury trial.
Do you need help filing a claim with the insurance company after a slip and fall accident? Call our Norfolk office to schedule your free, no-obligation initial consultation to learn how we can assist you.