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Before a lawyer will file a hotel negligence claim on your behalf, several questions must be answered. A variety of factors will determine whether you have a hotel negligence case that is likely to end in a settlement or court award.
7 Questions a Lawyer Will Ask Before Taking Your Hotel Negligence Case
A personal injury lawyer will take your case only after evaluating your answers to the following questions:
- What caused your injury?
An attorney will need to know about all the circumstances surrounding your accident. You’ll want to be honest and provide as much detail as possible, even if the particulars are hazy or embarrassing. Even details you may not think matter, including the weather outside, what was the condition of the room, bathroom, entryway or stairway, were there floor or shower mats, the lighting, witnesses, etc.–all can have a bearing on whether the lawyer takes your case and, if so, how your case is handled.
- Was the danger open and obvious?
For many people, this can be a distressing question. Don’t be embarrassed if the answer is yes. While there may have been obvious signs of a dangerous condition, it may not have been evident to you at the time of your accident. Give your lawyer as much detail as possible about the factors leading up to the incident, and let him or her know the good, the bad, and the ugly of your awareness of the circumstances.
- Was there a warning sign or warning tape?
It doesn’t mean you don’t have a case just because a dangerous area of the hotel had a warning sign nearby or had been cordoned off with caution tape. The design and placement of the sign can have a significant bearing on the case. Likewise, the nature of the hazard could play a role, as well; for example, if a spill could have been cleaned up quickly and safely, but was left alone with warning tape by a member of the hotel staff for a long period of time, this could create a condition where the hotel bears some liability. Be honest with your attorney and provide as much detail as possible related to any warning signage or alerts.
- Was the hotel or a member of its staff aware of the problem before the incident occurred?
Let your lawyer know if there were any hotel employees, managers, or other vendors or staff who may have been aware of the hazard that lead to your accident. Even if they were nice and helpful after the incident, they could still be responsible for failing to prevent the accident from happening in the first place. Names are great, too, but if you don’t have them, provide as much detail as possible about the people who may have known about the dangerous condition before you were injured.
- Was an incident report taken?
It is entirely likely an employee, manager, or owner of the hotel will have filed an internal report recounting the details of the incident. While it is unlikely they will have voluntarily provided it to you, sometimes they will. If you are aware of any reports that were created related to your incident, let your attorney know as soon as possible. Likewise, any information you were given after your accident should be provided to your attorney, as well. This information can be used to establish the facts of the case and, in some cases, refute later testimony about what happened. Ask for a copy of the report and request that any video survelliance be preserved.
- What are your injuries?
Your attorney will need to know as much detail as possible about the nature and extent of your injuries and they persist. Even if they seem minor to you, don’t leave anything out. Whether it’s bruises, lacerations, soft-tissue damage, –it all matters. Be as descriptive as possible and keep a journal.
- Have you received medical treatment?
In the moments after a traumatic event, it can sometimes be difficult to think clearly. Maybe you were treated at the scene. Maybe you didn’t seek medical attention until after you left the hotel because your injuries didn’t bother you for a few days. Let your attorney know when you first sought medical attention, what you told your doctor, and whether any surgery or follow-up procedures were or are necessary. Surgery related to your fall can increase the amount of a settlement.
Unsure If You Have A Case? Ask Alan!
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