A person slipped & fell at our restaurant, we are unsure of her injuries but she was taken to the hospital saying that she hurt her ankle. 6 days after her slip & fall we are getting calls from an Attorney. Background: A waitress had just mopped the area with exception of a few feet in front of the bathroom door because she knew the person was in there & was waiting for her to exit before mopping in that area. The waitress had already put up wet floor signs in both the bathroom & outside of the bathroom. Furthermore the server who was actually waiting on this woman went into the bathroom just to let her know that the floor might be wet so be careful exiting the bathroom. When the woman exited the bathroom she fell. The area wasnt wet & there were no other hazards to cause a fall.
If you have insurance, send the attorney letter over. Make sure your employees give statements about the signs being out. If the signs were really there, it is unlikely the case will do well in the courts.
If you cannot prove they were there through reliable testimony, the case may make it to a jury.
The ultimate question is how badly hurt is she. Sprains are not cases. Fractures and surgeries are much more serious
You need to immediately notify your insurer about this incident, and your insurer will then investigate and if necessary, assign counsel to defend you.
A lot will depend on whether the injured person saw (or should have seen) the signs, and the testimony of staff on how wet the floor was, how recently it was cleaned, and any other fact related to the cause of her slip. As others indicated, you should notify your insurer immediately so they can conduct an investigation and advise you.
Do not talk with the attorney or the parties. Every business should buy insurance for this, so refer this to your insurer and they defend the claim or pay it.
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I understand from a comment you made to an answer that you are not insured. That's unfortunate since if you had insurance, you would have simply turned over the claim notice to the carrier who would have guided you through this, supplied you with an attorney if sued and would have defended the claim, settled it and/or pay any judgment if the case went to trial and you lost.
You are now responsible for all of this. First preserve that "evidence." If there is video or pictures keep them safe. I suggest you not speak with the lawyer who is calling. Perhaps you can let the lawyer know you do not have insurance coverage and you will be retaining a lawyer who will contact the lawyer for the customer. You need to retain a lawyer to represent you. This is not going to be cheap. You can google insurance defense firms Cairo Ga and then contact a firm that typically handles such claims on behalf of insurance companies for restaurants like yours. You should try to get at least the same hourly rate an insurance company pays that firm.
From what you describe you have a very defendable claim. In order to prevail the customer will need to show negligence and again from what you describe your employees acted reasonably under the circumstances. The value of the claim will depend on how well the customer can claim you were careless and of course the nature and extent of the injury.
This is really not something you can handle on your own. At the very least find a lawyer who typically handles the defense of these cases and pay for an hour of that lawyer's time to explain your defenses and liabilities.
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