Slipped and fell? Don't take a settlement on the scene

You were walking on a pathway through an outdoor patio when you suddenly found yourself falling to the ground. The ground was slick, and you couldn't catch yourself.

Being outside, you attempted to grab onto a table or chair before you hit the ground, but there was nothing there. You landed on an uneven rock, managing to badly bruise your elbow, crack a rib and hit your head.

Will you be able to hold the business liable for your injuries?

If you're asking if you can file a lawsuit to gain compensation to cover your financial losses, the likelihood is that you can. However, to win, you need to show that the business owner knew about the unsafe conditions or was negligent in caring for them.

In this case, it wasn't raining outside, so you didn't expect the ground to be slick. There was a mossy patch on some cracked pathway stones that was likely the culprit. If the owner knew there was a potential for tripping and falling or slipping and falling over that stepping stone, then there's a chance that you can prove that he or she did not take the steps necessary to make the area safe.

Other factors may also determine if the owner is negligent. For instance, if the individual says that he or she meant to repair that earlier and apologizes, you know immediately that the case is in your hands. Likewise, if there is poor lighting or if others tell you they've slipped before as well, you could make arguments with those facts.

Should you accept anything offered to you at the scene?

The only thing you should accept at the scene is help getting up or medical care. It's not a good idea to accept a gift card, cash compensation or other payoffs, because you likely will not be able to pursue any further compensation from the business owner if you take that "settlement." If you're offered cash or money at the scene, it's likely that the business owner knows that a case could be costly. He or she may attempt to avoid your filing a lawsuit by offering a payment before you get medical care or talk to an attorney.

Remember, you don't have to accept any settlement offered to you. You have a right to get medical care and talk to your attorney before you make any kind of decision. You are the victim, and you have the right to take your time and look into all factors of your case before you seek compensation.

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