What Should I Ask My Slip and Fall Lawyer?
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
If you’ve recently been injured in a slip and fall accident, you may be considering a personal injury claim for compensation. This usually means consulting different attorneys to learn your legal options and choosing a firm to represent your case.
Knowing the right questions to ask in a slip and fall case is crucial for understanding the process ahead. It also helps you pick the right attorney to represent your interests and manage your claim.
Our slip and fall attorneys at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. are ready to provide a free review of your claim. Consider asking the following questions during your consultation to gain insights about the firm and strategies for securing a fair settlement.
Do I Need Legal Representation?
At your initial meeting with an attorney, an important question to ask in your slip and fall case is the necessity of legal representation. An attorney can review the accident details, the severity of your injuries, and potential fault to assess if your claim is viable.
Our team at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. will provide an honest evaluation of your case. We’ll let you know whether pursuing a claim is in your best interest and if legal expertise is necessary based on the likelihood of a successful outcome and the potential value of your claim.
What are Your Legal Qualifications?
Ask about their legal credentials when meeting with a lawyer for your slip and fall case. This will confirm that you are engaging a professional with the experience and knowledge to handle your case effectively.
Questions to consider include:
- “What is your experience with slip and fall cases?”
- “How many cases like mine have you handled?”
- “What are your credentials and areas of specialization?”
Look for attorneys with a strong track record in handling similar cases who can demonstrate their proficiency in personal injury law. Ask about their success rate and settlements or verdicts to gain insights into their capabilities.
At Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., our firm specializes in personal injury cases in Michigan, including slip and fall. Our firm has a track record of proven successes with multiple million-dollar verdicts.
When you choose us for your case, our dedicated team of skilled attorneys will tirelessly pursue the highest possible compensation on your behalf. Our team is skilled and has varied backgrounds in nursing, computer science, business law, and medical malpractice which allows us to bring an interdisciplinary approach to complex cases.
How Will You Prove Negligence in My Case?
Inquiring about how your attorney determines negligence will help you understand their approach and strategies for managing your slip and fall case. An experienced lawyer will outline their method for proving negligence, typically by gathering a range of evidence that may include:
- Medical records to document your injuries and treatments
- Incident reports, if filed at the scene
- Expert testimony, which might include safety experts or medical professionals
- Maintenance records of the property to show the history of upkeep or lack of
- Weather reports, if weather conditions played a role in the accident
- Your account of the incident, detailing your experience and the impact on your life
Your lawyer will also explain how they’ll use this evidence to demonstrate the property owner’s failure to maintain a safe environment, which directly led to your injury. This includes how they’ll establish the four key elements of negligence: duty of care, breach, causation, and damages to help you win under Michigan’s premises liability laws.
Understanding this process gives you a clearer picture of how your case will be handled and the arguments your lawyer will use to advocate for your rights and fair compensation.
How Long Do I Have to File a Slip and Fall Claim?
Ask your attorney how long you have to file a claim for your slip and fall case. They’ll inform you about the general timelines and then examine the details of your incident to specify the exact timeframe.
In Michigan, you typically have three years to file a claim for most slip and fall accidents on commercial or residential private property. However, the deadline may be shorter if your fall occurred on government property. You might need to show that the entity knew of the hazard 30 days prior and file a Notice of Claim within 120 days.
Our attorneys at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. will guide you through these timelines, ensuring you meet all deadlines to preserve your right to compensation.
How Will You Communicate With Me About the Case?
A crucial yet sometimes neglected question to ask during a slip and fall consultation concerns how your lawyer will keep you informed about your claim. Clear and regular communication is essential to staying updated on the status of your case and making decisions as it progresses.
Look for responses that specify how often you’ll receive updates, what methods of communication will be used (like emails, phone calls, or in-person meetings), and who will be your main point of contact within the firm. Ask whether the attorney and their team prefer email or if they use a secure mobile messaging system.
Determine if you’ll be able to contact your attorney directly with questions. How they communicate should match your expectations and preferences for staying informed and involved.
Our attorneys at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. emphasize clear and continuous communication with our clients. We commit to providing frequent updates using your preferred method of communication and for any inquiries or concerns you may have during your case.
What Type of Fees Do You Charge?
Asking about fees when selecting an attorney for your slip and fall case helps you understand the financial aspect of legal representation. Personal injury lawyers typically operate on a contingency fee model. This arrangement means they receive compensation only if they successfully win your case or negotiate a settlement.
The fee is a percentage of the settlement amount covering their legal services. In Michigan, this is typically 33% of your recovery award. However, the percentage may differ based on the case’s complexity, the stage at which the case is resolved, or other factors. This arrangement is beneficial as it aligns the attorney’s interests with yours.
One of the main advantages of a contingency fee arrangement is that it eliminates the need for you to pay upfront legal fees. This can make legal services more accessible to individuals who might not be able to pay an attorney hourly or upfront.
Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. offers legal services on a contingency fee basis, allowing you to access skilled legal representation without the burden of upfront costs. This arrangement allows you to focus on your recovery while we manage your case.
How Much Can I Expect to Win?
When you discuss your slip and fall case with a lawyer, ask about the possible compensation you might receive. At Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C., your attorney will look into various factors of your case to give you an accurate idea of what your settlement might look like:
- Medical expenses. This includes costs for hospital stays, surgical procedures, rehabilitation services, and medications. We tailor our estimates to encompass current and future medical costs based on the scope of your injuries and the necessary treatments.
Partner attorney Eileen Kroll leverages her dual expertise as a registered nurse and her extensive experience in law, spanning over 30 years, to evaluate your injuries. She’ll use your medical records to link your injuries to your fall so you receive the maximum compensation possible.
- Earnings losses. We calculate compensation for lost wages and benefits due to missed work and any impact on your future earning capacity.
- Psychological impact. When possible we include emotional distress in your claim using reports from therapists or psychiatrists demonstrating lasting psychological effects like depression or PTSD.
- Impact on quality of life. We evaluate how your injuries affect your daily activities, hobbies, and overall quality of life, ensuring these factors are reflected in the compensation.
- Personal property damage. If the fall damages personal items, like prescription glasses, we include repair or replacement costs in your estimate.
- Pain and suffering. This encompasses all aspects of anxiety, stress, discomfort, and other psychological impacts resulting from your fall and injuries.
What is Your Process for Gathering Evidence?
It’s a good idea to ask your attorney about their process for gathering and assessing evidence for your case. This helps you understand what documents or evidence you need to share with your legal team.
Our attorneys at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. follow a thorough approach to ensure investigating slip and fall claims and collecting relevant evidence:
- Scene investigation. We conduct on-site investigations at the accident scene to collect tangible evidence and understand the setting of the incident. For example, if your fall occurred in a supermarket, we would scrutinize the area for potential hazards like spills, poor lighting, or uneven flooring and verify the presence or absence of any warning signs. This examination is crucial to determining the cause of your fall and securing evidence for your case.
- Witness interviews. Our team interviews potential witnesses of the accident, such as bystanders or employees, to gather their accounts to bolster your case.
- Surveillance footage. We secure available video footage from the accident scene to prove negligence. This can include security camera recordings, videos captured by witnesses on cell phones, or recordings from nearby traffic cameras.
- Medical records. We compile all your medical documents related to the injuries sustained in the fall, providing a detailed account of your treatment and recovery.
- Expert consultations. Our lawyers collaborate with specialists in areas such as medicine and safety to fortify your case with expert testimony. For instance, a safety professional could assess whether the property adhered to regulations, demonstrating the property owner’s negligence.
- Official reports. We collect any accident reports made at the scene because they provide crucial details about the circumstances surrounding the fall. If you reported the accident to law enforcement, we will acquire this police report to support your claim.
What Should I Say if the Defendant or Their Representatives Call Me?
During your consultation, inquire about the appropriate response if the defendant’s insurance company reaches out to you, as this is crucial for protecting your interests in a slip and fall case. At Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C., we instruct our clients to direct communication from the opposing party to our legal team.
Avoid providing statements or entering into agreements without consulting your lawyer, as anything you say might unintentionally affect your case. Representatives from the defendant’s side may attempt to get you to say something that minimizes your injuries or implies some fault on your part. Even casual comments like “I’m sorry” or “I feel okay” could reduce the strength of your claim.
We are familiar with the strategies that might undermine your position and will offer advice to navigate these interactions successfully.
Will My Case Go to Court?
Inquiring about the probability of your case proceeding to trial can help set your expectations and prepare you for what lies ahead. Trials can be protracted and emotionally draining, whereas settlements typically resolve quicker and with less stress.
A study by the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) in 2015 revealed that 39% of tort cases are dismissed, and 32% are resolved via out-of-court settlements, indicating that only a minority of cases actually proceed to trial.
Although more than 95% of the cases at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., conclude with a settlement, our team has extensive courtroom experience. Should your case require it, we are fully equipped to advocate for your interests in a trial, committed to achieving the most favorable outcome for your slip and fall claim.
Speak With Our Experienced Lawyers at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C.
Ready to take action in your slip and fall case? Our experienced legal team at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. is ready to meet with you during a free consultation. Contact us today to discuss questions you have about your slip and fall case. We will listen to the details of your accident and help you seek a fair recovery award for your injuries.
Our contingency fee basis means we only get paid if we win your case, so there is no financial risk to you to get started. Call our law firm today at 1-866-MICH-LAW and schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.