You and your employees can potentially be injured at any time on another business owner’s property.
You might feel safe working for well-known companies, but safety is never guaranteed. For instance, in 2018, a contractor was struck by a skid carrier at Tesla’s California assembly plant and suffered a broken jaw and lacerations to the face. The details aren’t clear as to what or who caused the accident, but in terms of filing a personal injury lawsuit, it doesn’t matter. Willful negligence or not, if you’re injured you have the right to sue.
Before you do or say anything to the business owner or their employees, consider these tips a roadmap for keeping the peace (and winning your case):
1. Be professional until you get a lawyer
In the moment of your injury, you’ll have to interact with the business owner or employees in some capacity. Depending on the severity of your injury, you might not want to be nice. Be nice and professional regardless of how you feel. The people attending to you immediately following your injury are probably caring human beings, but are afraid to appear sympathetic or apologetic due to company policy designed to mitigate liability after an accident.
It’s terrible to think employees wouldn’t be allowed to act sympathetic when helping a customer after an injury, but many businesses have policies on the books that will terminate an employee for doing so.
As soon as you can, get on Google maps and search for a local lawyer you can meet with. Searching in Google maps will bring up business listings with a phone number, website, and business hours. Some law firms are more visible than others and typically those law firms with more exposure are more reputable.
Until you have a lawyer, be professional when interacting with the business or their employees. Once you have a lawyer, they’ll handle all communications for you.
2. Don’t engage with the business owner
When you’re filing a personal injury lawsuit against another business, avoid engaging with the business owner. Chances are, that business owner will be upset about the lawsuit and won’t be easy to communicate with. No matter how many issues you’ve resolved amicably in the past, a lawsuit is different. Even responsible people often shrink away from their responsibilities when faced with monetary loss.
Use your attorney as a buffer between you and the other business. Don’t engage with the business owner or any of their employees, even on social media. Don’t pay anyone else to engage with them, either – it might hurt your case.
3. Be realistic and fair about your pursuit
Do you need to file a personal injury lawsuit? Do your injuries legitimately require medical care you need to pay for?
Having the right to sue somebody doesn’t mean you should. Consider the business owner for a moment. Will filing a lawsuit potentially put them out of business? If so, do your injuries justify the pursuit of that lawsuit?
For instance, say you fell on a tiled floor and ended up with a bruised arm. You got checked out in the ER and you’re fine. The bruise will heal in a month and you don’t have to take time off work. In that kind of situation, think twice about suing the business. You could probably get moderate compensation for a bruise, but it would come at the cost of dragging the business owner through the court system.
Think about why you fell. If you tripped over your own feet, your shoe got stuck on the floor, or you just weren’t paying attention, it’s not necessarily worth suing over.
On the other hand, if the business owner or one of their employees acted intentionally in a way that caused you harm, don’t think twice about filing a lawsuit.
4. Listen to your lawyer’s advice
Heeding your lawyer’s advice can’t be stressed enough. Your attorney knows more than you do. If you’ve been honest with your attorney, their advice is in your best interest. They’ve seen the outcome of many personal injury cases and know what kind of outcome you can expect. If they advise you to accept a settlement offer, you should accept it.
Keep the peace with your lawyer
If you want to win your case, it’s important to keep the peace with your lawyer. If you’re too difficult to work with, they might abandon your case.
If you don’t feel like you’re getting proper representation, you can choose a new lawyer; however, make sure you’re not just upset over a low settlement offer from the business you’re suing.