Question: I fell on a wet floor and injured myself? I was at a store and the employees saw it. They said they were sorry. I have a lot of pain. The insurance company took my statement. What can I expect to settle for if they determine themselves to be negligent?
Robert C. Slim’s Answer: A recorded statement is a very dangerous thing. The insurance companies tell you it is required for their investigation. Rather, they took your statement in order to establish a legal defense. For this reason, I never have my clients submit to a recorded statement, especially in slip and fall cases. They probably asked questions like “What did you slip on?” “Do you know how long the water was there?” “Do you know how the water got there?” “Did the employees say anything to you about how long the water was on the floor or how it got there?” They asked these questions because if your answer “No,” then you have probably just lost your case. The adjuster probably also told you to “go see a doctor and they will take of it….” that’s just another was to make you feel comfortable.
I will be very surprised if the insurance company makes you any real settlement offer. They just want to keep you comfortable so you do not hire a lawyer. Meanwhile, the adjuster is preparing their defense. In about a month (or less), you will get a letter that says something like this: “Based upon our investigation, we are not legally liable for the incident…. Therefore, we must deny your claim.”
Then, after the damage is done, your find yourself frantically trying to find a lawyer who will represent you. I have seen this scenario all too often. Unfortunately, this is what happens when people chose to represent themselves rather call an attorney from the start.