Top 99 FAQ About Slip-and-Falls


    • Q: 1. Do's And Don't After A Fall


      DO – Remember/Write Down Where You Fell and What You Fell Upon
      • A landowner owes different standards of care depending on whether the person on the land was invited or a trespasser (a formal invitation is not necessary. Customers of businesses are considered "'invited").
      • Try to determine who owns the land because that will help determine the duty the business owed to you. If you don't know who owned the property, Shaw Law can help you find out.
      • If you slipped or fell at a house of an acquaintance or a non-business like a school or a hospital, the owner can still be held liable if the above criteria are met.
      • Nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and apartment complex owners or landlords are held to the same high standard of care as retail stores or other businesses.

      DO - Keep the Clothes and Shoes You Were Wearing
      • It's a favorite topic of slip-and-fall defense lawyers everywhere - "what type of shoes were you wearing?" The idea is that generally you will be blamed for wearing inappropriate shoes such as clogs or flip-flops, depending on the weather.
      • If you have the shoes, keep them or take a picture of them.
      • Do not wear these shoes until after you have settled your case, if possible.

      DO - Ask to Fill Out an Incident Report Immediately (or the Next Day)
      • After you fall, fill out an incident report or insist the business provide an incident report, if you are physically able to do so.
      • Notify a manager and insist an incident report is provided. It's important to document what happened.
      • Write down the names of the employees or managers you are talking with.
      • Find "witnesses" or people who saw you fall and get their names and addresses or telephone numbers. Ask for help; don't be afraid. Ask family members to seek out witnesses if they were present with you during your fall. Typically, witnesses have no bias and can help immensely.
      • Write down any admissions or acknowledgments of the dangerous condition like substances, liquids, or other problems on the floor or land. Write down if the problem was old or new.
      • Write down any apologies. While such admissions cannot always be used at a jury trial, we can always refer to these statements during settlement negotiations.

      DO - Take Cell Phone Photos Immediately, if Possible
      • Inspect the area where you fell as soon as you can after the fall. These cases always seem to have widely differing viewpoints by participants as to the condition of the land. Photos can be the difference between a win and a loss in court.
      • At the scene, photograph where you fell, if you can.
      • If it is possible, have a family member or friend photograph the condition of the land if you are in the hospital.
      • Dangerous conditions like snow, ice, holes, or cracks in the pavement can get fixed quickly. Do what you can.

      DO - See Your Doctor, Keep All Appointments, and Get Better
      • Even if your injuries aren't severe, you should still see a doctor. Even pre-existing injuries are compensable in Indiana if they are aggravated by your accident.
      • Don't assume that you are prevented from recovering just because you had a problem in your past with an injury or condition.
      • Most slip-and-fall injuries are not visible at first. Your doctor, however, will know how to care for you and what to keep an eye out for.
      • Your doctor visit will also create useful medical documentation.
      • Keep thorough records of all of your follow-up appointments, including rehab appointments and treatments.
      • Medical documentation provides a link of causation between the accident and your injury. You must prove that the injuries resulted from your fall.

      DO – Take Pictures of Your Injuries
      • Most people are visual learners when retaining information. Help your jurors understand the true nature of your injuries and the pain and suffering you experienced. Use your cellphone’s camera.
      • Photograph your injuries. Many slip-and-falls result in bruising or other indicators of injury. Bruises go away without photos.
      • Photograph any surgical incisions or other invasive treatments. Don't be shy, but you can cover your face, if necessary. Photos help your injury case.

      DON’T Say Too Much - Keep Your Words to a Minimum At The Scene
      • Immediately after your slip-and-fall accident, you need to keep your wits about you. We know you can be shaken and may not realize what you are saying or doing. Maintain focus, as this can make a difference in your case.
      • At the scene, refrain from talking as much as possible. You can graciously accept offers to help but do not discuss how the fall occurred or who is to blame. Do not make any demands.
      • In the weeks after, you may be approached by insurance adjusters and attorneys from the property owner or responsible party.
      • Do not talk to any insurance representatives or give a statement in the days or weeks after the fall; it's designed to be used against you later.
      • Many people think they can "explain" or "win" their slip-and-fall case themselves. It can't be done. Don't try it. Instead, call Shaw Law immediately and we will schedule your statement or deposition later.

      DON’T Give Statements to an Insurance Company until You Hire Shaw Law
      • Don’t give a recorded statement to the insurance company without first speaking with Shaw Law.
      • The insurance adjuster will NOT tell you the truth. He or she might say it is necessary to give a statement “so your medical bills can get paid.” This is NOT true. A recorded statement is not a prerequisite to medical payments coverage if insurance exists.
      • The ONLY purpose of a prerecorded statement is to USE AGAINST YOU LATER in court or at a deposition (statement under oath).
      • Yes, you can give your name, address, and what doctors you are seeing, but do NOT give a recorded statement over the telephone of what happened.

      DON’T FORGET - Hire Shaw Law and Cooperate In Your Claim
      • Our website says it all - we are "" Hire experienced slip-and-fall lawyers. Unfortunately, statistics show that most slip-and-fall jury trials are lost by injured victims. Attorney Jeff JJ Shaw has never lost a single slip-and-fall jury trial in 30+ years of experience.
      • Listen to your lawyer. We only get paid when you get paid. We are on the same side. We have the experience to know what the best strategy is in every case.
      • Help your lawyer. Keep in good communication. If you have a cellphone and an email address, provide those to us and check for texts and emails. We can communicate electronically.
      • Be honest with your attorney. Even if there are facts in your case that are not favorable to you, you must tell your attorney. Lying to your attorney will only hurt you and your case.
      • Act professionally at all times. Yelling, cursing, or being rude during statements, depositions, or court conferences can adversely affect your case.


    • Q: 2. Why Should I Hire an Attorney to Help Me?


      First, because it’s FREE. SHAW LAW never charges a fee until we win. And our fee comes from the other insurance company’s settlement – not your pocket.

      You will never be charged if there is not a recovery. You literally have nothing to lose by hiring us.

      Secondly, you can probably get a bigger settlement with us. We help you do two things you probably cannot do on your own – we can reverse the insurance company’s initial decision to deny responsibility by the business landowner for your fall. Our personal statistics show that 95% of all slip-and-fall claims are denied before filing a lawsuit by the insurance company/landowner.

      We almost always get you more money. We can maximize the amount of your settlement and get you full justice by proving damages of all losses and harms. There is a big difference between an offer to give you a coupon off merchandise for your fall or getting a large settlement that includes money to cover all of your damages for your injuries.

      For example, in one case we ended up recovering over $5,000,000 on a pre-suit offer to settle for $5,000 made by the insurance company. Additionally, our statistics show that nearly 95% of all of our cases receive a settlement offer at some time during the litigation. And, finally, another huge reason you should hire us -- we have never lost a single jury trial for a premises liability case in our 30+ years.


    • Q: 3. Why hire an attorney when all I want is my medical bills paid?


      Because, you are entitled to more settlement money than just payment of your medical bills. Sometimes, a lot more money for “mental anguish” (pain and suffering).

      Indiana law is clear – you are entitled to more than just your medical bills and lost wages. This, of course, is conditioned upon the landowner was at fault and that fault caused your injuries.

      The money damages can include such other factors (in addition to medical bills) as lost wages, loss of future wages, disfigurement/scars, permanent injury, mental anguish (often called pain and suffering) and loss of inability to function as a whole person would.

      There are no strict calculations necessary under Indiana law for those factors such as pain/suffering, disfigurement, mental anguish, permanency and loss of ability to function as a whole person. A jury simply must use its common sense and come to a reasonable figure.

      So, when we try to get you a settlement, we attempt to predict what a jury would do if the case were to proceed to a jury trial. In theory, the other side also attempts to make this same prediction and offer somewhat less to minimize its risks.

    • Q: 4. Doesn’t an Attorney get Most of My Settlement and do I Get Less?


      No. Hiring an attorney almost always ends up putting more money in your pocket than if you tried this on your own. Insurance companies know they can beat you at a trial. Insurance companies also know it is very difficult to beat Shaw Law.

      Our own personal statistics show that you make back significantly more than if you had not hired an attorney. National statistics seem to agree with our own.

      Furthermore, all settlements are voluntary. So, we would never agree to a settlement that did not include attorney fees as part of the settlement offered (unless your case had severe chances of not recovering anything).

      Finally, if nothing was being offered and responsibility was denied, only an attorney can usually change that determination.

    • Q: 5. Shouldn’t I Accept the Insurer’s First Offer and not hire Shaw Law?


      No. You should never accept the first offer made by an insurance adjuster. Without an attorney, the first offer is almost worthless and you could be throwing away several thousands of dollars.

      Insurance companies realize that many people want to avoid conflict or negotiating in any situation, so they make a small opening offer hoping to catch a bite (think of purchasing a car or a house – did you accept the first offer?).

      Slip-and-falls are no different than any other large financial transaction. The first offer is nothing more than an attempt to get you to leave and go away for almost nothing.

      Another major problem accepting the first offer is your inability come back later and get more money if your medical condition worsens. Only one settlement can be made on a case. Many people don’t know the full extent of their injuries until they finish medical treatments or see a specialist.

      Many injuries cannot be properly diagnosed without an MRI or CT-Scan. These can take months to schedule (especially getting approval from your health insurance company).

      Settling right away can result in no money added to your settlement for your true diagnosed injuries.

      A good rule-of-thumb is to finish ALL medical treatments before attempting to settle ANY personal injury claim.

    • Q: 6. My Friend Got a Settlement Right Away When She Fell, Won’t I?


      Maybe a tiny one. Not if you want a bigger recovery. Here’s the honest truth – small settlements can be done rather quickly.

      But, if you want a large settlement this is usually done slowly. Insurance companies do NOT hand out money quickly or without a full and complete investigation of your current and prior medical conditions.

      Many people are offered $500 plus medical bills payments to settle their case quickly. This is foolhardy in most circumstances and you could be throwing away tens of thousands of dollars or more with just a little patience.

    • Q: 7. I Fell on Their Land. Do I Automatically Get Some Money?


      No. Indiana premises law is clear (law when somebody is hurt on another’s land) does not assume the landowner/business was responsible for your fall. That’s why you need to hire Shaw Law – we can help prove your claim of negligence by the business landowner with evidence you cannot get on your own.

      Any negligence claim is a “civil” action under the laws of the State of Indiana (not a criminal case but rather one where “money” is at stake only).

      In order to recover any money, you must “prove” the business landowner was at fault or responsible for your fall. Fault means the business landowner did something wrong (unreasonable) under the circumstances that directly led to your fall and injuries.

      Simply falling is not enough to win money according to the law. You must be prove the landowner knew about the defect on its land or should have known and failed to act reasonably to prevent your fall.

      No business or landowner can be held responsible for your injuries until you provide it was “at fault” acting unreasonably under the circumstances (like knowing it was about to snow and not snow plowing or applying salt melt – that would be “unreasonable”). Just like an alleged criminal is presumed to be innocent in a criminal court of law, a landowner or business is presumed to not be responsible for anything – including medical bill payments – until fault is proven.

      There are two ways to prove it (and get your medical bills paid plus perhaps more): (1) a settlement and (2) a jury verdict.

      That’s why you need Shaw Law – we help prove “fault.”

    • Q: 8. Won’t Wal-Mart/Business Just Settle to Avoid Bad Publicity?


      No. Wal-Mart (and insurance companies in general) does not care about publicity – it cares about minimizing your settlement money.

      Wal-Mart has thousands and thousands of people seeking compensation per year for injuries that occurred on its land. It is a big business. It does not care about publicity in that regard. Ask yourself how civil cases for injury you personally know about with Wal- Mart being the defendant. We bet it isn’t many off the top of your head without researching the internet.

      Your case is no different – it is a business decision Wal-Mart and other businesses will make. It is not personal and bad publicity does not play a role in its decision-making when deciding if a settlement will occur.


    • Q: 9. A Friend Told Me She Got a Settlement Immediately – Why Not Me?


      Larger settlements take a little longer. We have been doing this for over 35+ years now. If you want a large settlement, it does takes a little time.

      But, it does not take as much time as you might think. Time is going to pass regardless, you might as well be patient and see if you can acquire a big settlement with our help.

      Additionally, we have learned through the years that almost all stories about friends or family are probably mistaken or the truth was stretched. Many people like to exaggerate their successes to impress you. We will not do that. We simply tell you the honest truth. All the time. Every time.

      And the truth is that big settlements take time; small settlements can happen quickly, but not fairly. Would you rather listen to your friend or our law firm which has never lost a jury trial for premises liability and has over 30+ years of experience?


    • Q: 10. Hiring Shaw Law Gets Me a Bigger Settlement, but How Do I?


      Hiring us is simple. You can do it from home if you have a cell phone.

      It takes about 5 minutes, if you have an email.

      In fact, you never need to leave your computer or smart phone. Simply call us or Zoom with us. We decide to most of our cases over the cell phone.

      If we decide to take your case, we need your written permission to act on your behalf. So, we send you a written agreement by email. You simply “click” on your signature and we can get started on your case within 10 minutes every single time.

    • Q: 11. How Often Will you Contact Me?


      As often or as little as you like. Just let us know your preferred contact – IMs, DMs, Texts, E-Mails, Phone Calls, FaceTime or Zoom – we are here for you at your convenience. We usually answer all emails and texts within 10 minutes, every single day, 24/7.

      We also attempt to send out emails once or twice a month to keep you up to date on your case.

    • Q: 12. How Do You Contact Me? Do You Text?

      A: Yes. We do it all – texts, Zoom, IMs, FaceBook, emails (preferred method), cell phone or any other method you let me know is best for you. Let us know what is best for you.

    • Q: 13. I Already Have Another Attorney, Can I Still Hire You?


      Yes. You can change attorneys quickly and easily in Indiana and be required to pay ONLY ONE set of attorney fees. It’s the law.

      If we accept your case, we work out the details with your prior attorneys to compensate them for their time. You never have to be involved or speak to them again. We simply ask you send them an email informing them you intend to switch attorneys to us.


    • Q: 21. Won’t Hiring an Attorney Make Their Insurance Company Angry?


      No. The insurance company won’t get “mad.” Hiring an attorney is the best way to get a large settlement and they know it and fully expect smart people will do it.

      As stated above, the decision to settle a case and/or pay medical bills by an insurance company is not a personal one. It is a financial one.

      Insurance companies do not make decisions to pay out of kindness or generosity. Insurance companies make decisions to pay based upon minimizing risk of paying more later.

      Getting an attorney helps you highlight the risk to the insurance company. In other words, an insurance company is more likely to pay your bills or make a settlement if you hire us, because it knows that we are experienced and knowledgeable. It knows we are not afraid to go into a court of law and prove your case. Hence, they offer to settle often.

    • Q: 22. I Gave a Statement Because They Promised to Pay Me, Now What?


      Hire Shaw Law. It happens all the time and is no surprise – they asked for a statement, but now, they refuse to pay like they promised. We can still help you even after you give a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster.

      Insurance adjusters often lie. They will claim that no medical bills can be paid until a recorded statement is given to learn more about what happened. In reality, there is only one reason for them to request a recorded statement – they want to trip you up and deny your claim when you make a mistake during the statement.

      Never give a recorded statement without talking to us first.

      You have two years to file a lawsuit in a court of law before your claim expires.

      Consequently, that is usually plenty of time to get medical treatment and come back to provide further information.

      My advice to respond to an insurance adjuster who wants a recorded statement soon after the injury: tell them “I am focusing upon my health right now. I will contact you later when I feel better.”

      Then call Shaw Law.

    • Q: 23. Must I Give a Statement to The Other Insurance Company by Law?


      No. Payment of medical bills has NOTHING to do with giving a recorded statement to the insurance adjuster.

      Insurance adjusters will often lie to you. They will insist a recorded statement is necessary and then medical bills will be paid. This is simply not true. Payment of medical bills depends upon whether:

      1. there is separate MedPay coverage; or
      2. whether we can prove fault.

      Statements have nothing to do with payments. Ever.


    • Q: 24. Am I Required to Show Up in Court if I Hire Shaw Law?


      No. Our goal is always first to settle before filing a lawsuit. But, most insurance companies deny any responsibility and blame you in a slip-and-fall. So, most slip-and-fall claims do end up filing a lawsuit (about 95% require a lawsuit in my 30+ years of experience.

      In fact, hiring an attorney is the best way to avoid court and receive a big settlement. Almost 98% of all our cases never see the inside of a court room at any time. All investigation is done outside the court room, including your statement, if one is given.

    • Q: 25. Will Anybody Go to Jail if This Case Goes to a Jury Trial?


      No. Nobody is going to jail as a result of your claim or case. Your claim for negligence on the part of the business landowner is civil action and not a criminal action under Indiana law. Civil actions seek monetary relief only; criminal cases involve people possibly going to jail.

      The two types of cases are different. You will be in civil court with a civil court Judge. No employee or management member is going to jail. You are not going to jail if you lose. This is a civil case and the only remedy is money.

    • Q: 26. Does Every Case Go to Trial or Will I Get a Settlement?


      No. Not every case goes to trial. In fact, almost 98% of all our premises liability cases receive a settlement offer for some amount.

      Whether your case receives a settlement offer depends upon a thousand different things – how far along you are in your treatment, whether your injury is minor or severe, whether we can prove fault easily on your case or it will be more difficult. Even the COVID-19 virus stopped court rooms from seeing cases and setting trials, which has delayed things dramatically but we are almost back to normal.

      Statistics used to show most cases settled within 1 year and almost all by 2 years. While that might sound like an eternity, it really isn’t. Especially when it comes to big money transactions like personal injury settlements.


    • Q: 27. Does Hiring an Attorney Delay My Settlement?


      Maybe. But it is worth it.

      While it is true that court cases and litigation take more time, it is due to a more extensive investigation done by the other side. We also do a more thorough investigation of why this incident occurred. This can include written questions to each side and oral statements given under oath to a court reporter (depositions). While that might take a little longer, the settlement is usually much, much higher due to the increased risk for the insurance company of going to a verdict.

      Remember, verdicts are decided by a jury. A jury is 6 people off the street that neither side knows prior to the morning of trial. Insurance companies hate risk and losing money unnecessarily. The ONLY reason an insurance company will pay a settlement is to avoid losing more in the future. Consequently, we do our best to make them aware of the risk and be very, very afraid of us.

    • Q: 28. Why Is It Taking So Long to Get a Settlement Offer?


      Because good settlements take a bit longer to investigate by both our side and the insurance company on the other side.

      And good things can come to those who are patient.

      Litigation has a discovery phase (investigation stage) in which both sides determine what happened.

      There will be a stage for settlement discussions ordered by the Court, but it can take awhile to get there.

      Remember, bigger settlements take longer because big money is involved and insurance companies will commit to an extensive litigation before they decided to pay bigger money for a settlement. All money transactions take time and litigation is no different.

      Our personal statistics show that most cases settle within 1-2 years. While that might sound like an eternity, it really isn’t. That time will pass regardless – we might as well attempt to get you a significant settlement while we wait.

    • Q: 29. When Will You Ask for a Settlement?


      Once before we file the lawsuit. If they refuse, we file a lawsuit and then ask again at a settlement conference near the end of your lawsuit.

      If you are done treating medically and we have not filed a lawsuit, we will ask for settlement once your medical condition is stabilized and we have all of your medical records and bills.

      We acquire those records, forward them onto the other side and make a demand for payment based upon our experience and the facts of your case.

      If they respond, we share the response with you.

      While we cannot guarantee our settlement demand will be met, we attempt to give the other side the best opportunity to avoid a trial.

      We cannot force them to settle. But, we can do our best to convince the other side it is clearly in their best interest to avoid a trial.

      If we must go to trial – that’s where we really shine.

    • Q: 30. How Much Money Will You Ask For in a Settlement?


      It depends. The amount we demand depends upon a variety of factors.

      Settlement demands are more like “art” than “science.” It depends upon many different factors. We are trying to guess what a jury would do if they heard your case in a court of law and had to calculate a verdict. As you know, predicting the future is very difficult. But, there are certain factors we see over and over that provide us a framework for the amount – including similar injury cases we have handled.

    • Q: 31. Do You Decide the Amount of a Settlement or Do I?


      You do. We always, always consult with you before making any settlement demand. While we might talk “round numbers” with opposing lawyers outside your presence, you are the “boss” of your settlement. We give strong advice, though.

      You decide and must sign paperwork showing you agreed to a settlement. It is done in writing each and every time. Emails can suffice; the important thing is your consent is necessary and must be in writing before we agree to ANY settlement.

    • Q: 32. Will I Know How Much You Demanded Before it is Made?

      A: Yes. We keep you informed of each settlement demand each offer made in response.

    • Q: 33. If the Largest Part of My Settlement is Pain, How Much Is It?


      It depends upon the nature of the injury. Pain and suffering is usually the largest part of any settlement. And we have the know-how and decades of experience to get it done.

      The amount is not written in stone. But, we know how to get you fairness.

      As stated above, the largest part of any settlement or verdict is usually not the medical bills – but rather some money to compensate for mental anguish (pain and suffering) or inability to function as a whole person.

      There are many ways to prove these damages. We can talk to your doctors or family and friends who can provide us with stories and explanations about your injuries and recovery process.

      We can submit health records that display your pain during the course of your treatments.

      Sometimes, we are able to hire an expert witness who can give opinions about your pain and suffering. We have multiple ways we attempt to maximize your recovery and over 30+ years of experience in doing so.

    • Q: 34. How Much of the Settlement Will I Get?


      We have a prior contract that makes it clear before you get a settlement. You will receive the total of the settlement amount with deductions for:

      • Attorneys Fees;
      • Litigation expense (like expert witness fees; court costs; deposition transcriptions, etc.)
      • And any unpaid liens (entities that paid your medical bills or hospital liens). The remaining money is all yours.

    • Q: 35. Is the Settlement Amount Based on Medical Bills and Lost Wages?


      Partly yes. But, a settlement amount is based upon a prediction of what a jury would award if there was a jury verdict. This includes more than just medical bills, including lost prior wages and future wages, disfigurement, permanency of the injury, mental anguish (often called pain and suffering), and inability to function as a whole person.

      While a jury does NOT calculate these according to a strict mathematical formula, there are ways to attempt to estimate what the value of each of the factors could be.

      Our goal is to maximize your recovery.

    • Q: 36. My Friend Told Me Her Attorney Took Most of Her Settlement, True?

      A: No. That is NEVER true at Shaw Law. Even if your unpaid liens exist, we make certain that our fees and expenses NEVER exceed your recovery. That’s our 100% guarantee to full justice.

    • Q: 37. So, What Actually Comes Out of a Settlement?


      The deductions from a settlement include:

      • Attorney Fees (sliding scale based upon stage of case);
      • Litigation expense (like expert witness fees; filing fees in court; deposition transcriptions, etc.)
      • And any unpaid liens (entities that paid your medical bills or hospital liens). The remaining money is all yours.

      A very general rule of thumb is you usually recover about 50% (or half) of the total settlement.

    • Q: 38. Do My Medical Bills Get Paid After We Settle?

      A: No. If a lien, then yes, we will do that from the total. If not a lien, then it is your choice. A settlement is a “lump sum” one-time payment that includes all things to be deducted as explained above. Any outstanding medical bills must be paid from your portion of the settlement (or your choice to pay or not pay is yours to make). Your attorneys fees come out from the lump sum payment, too.

    • Q: 39. What About My Lost Past Wages or Future Wages?

      A: Indiana laws does allow recovery for lost wages – whether in the past or the future. But, Shaw Law believes that documentary proof (such as an HR record, prior tax returns, forensic accounting if you are self-employed) is the best method of proof rather than just mere words/testimony.

    • Q: 40. Can I Get Money in the Future for Medical Treatment, If Necessary?

      A: No. But there is a solution. Settlements and verdicts are a one-and-done deal. But, if the evidence shows that future medical treatments are necessary, then your damages can be recovered for that amount, too. Shaw Law believes the best way to get future medical payments built “into” the settlement or verdict is through documentary proof and expert opinion. Doctors and Life Care Planners can testify and provide expert opinion that future medical treatments will be necessary. In that fashion, your current verdict or settlement can have those future amounts “built into” the settlement or verdict.

    • Q: 41. If I Go to Trial, Does a Judge or Jury Decide How Much I Get?

      A: Jury. If your case goes to a jury trial, the jury makes the determination of what amount would be fair under the circumstances. A Judge can add or subtract if she finds it to be unfair or unreasonable based upon the evidence heard, but that is a very rare occurrence.


    • Q: 42. What’s the Difference b/w Making a Claim and Filing a Lawsuit?

      A: We always start with a claim giving the other side a chance to settle fairly. And we only file a lawsuit if the insurance company for the Defendant refuses to settle fairly with us. But, often it is smart to file a lawsuit. Especially in a slip-and-fall case because adjusters will never pay fair money without a lawsuit. Insurance companies only pay large amounts of money when they are afraid of losing more. A settlement demand does NOT make an insurance company scared of losing money; a jury verdict does.

    • Q: 43. When Is It a Good Idea to File the Lawsuit Rather than Settle?


      Generally speaking, it is always a good idea to file the lawsuit when your injuries are more severe or permanent. The investigation done prior to paying a settlement is very similar to that done in a lawsuit anyway – so it just makes sense to do both at the same time and put fear into the insurance company of future risk.

      Also, we must file a lawsuit when responsibility for the injury is denied by the landowner or business insurance company. Otherwise, there is no way of forcing a settlement.

    • Q: 44. Must I Always File a Lawsuit? I Hate Court.


      No. It is not always necessary to file a lawsuit. And even if we do file, your chances of a jury trial are very, very small. We only file if responsibility is denied by the landowner or business for your injury. But, it is often a good idea to file a lawsuit if your injuries are severe and we are seeking big money settlement.

      Remember, 98% of all our cases NEVER see the inside of a court room. Most cases settle out-of-court.

    • Q: 45. Am I Suing the Landowner/Business or the Insurance Company?


      Indiana law requires us to name the actual business or landowner or person, but they don’t pay. This is a tricky question – although we must name the business or landowner as the “official” defendant in a premises liability case by law (not the insurance company), you will see it is actually the insurance company that hires the lawyer and decides upon any settlement or litigation strategy.

      This arcane law is based upon the idea that naming the insurance company officially in paperwork would prejudice a jury against that insurance company and the business that purchased that insurance. Dumb law, but for now, it stands.

    • Q: 46. If We File a Lawsuit, Does This Mean I Must Go to a Jury Trial?

      A: No. Almost 98% of all of our cases do NOT ever see the inside of a court room at any time. And most of our cases settle for money out-of-court.

    • Q: 47. If We File a Lawsuit, Does This Prevent a Settlement Later?

      A: No. You can still settle your lawsuit at any time during the case prior to trial. In fact, the Court will require you to attend a settlement conference with the opposing side before allowing a case to proceed to a jury trial. Also, we have settled cases the day before or the day of a jury trial, too. It all depends.

    • Q: 48. Why Does the Lawsuit not Mention the Insurance Company?


      Indiana law says we cannot “name” the insurance company on any official court pleadings. The topic of insurance is not admissible in Court. It is an old and unfair law.

      But, the insurance company remains the actual decisionmaker on settlements and pays all settlements.

    • Q: 49. Will I Be Harming a Specific Business or Person by Filing a Lawsuit?

      A: No. Just like you have automobile insurance, almost all business landowners purchase insurance to provide coverage for persons injured on its land. Some companies are so large they are self-insured or must pay a large deductible and that sometimes hinders our ability to effectuate a fair settlement as it comes directly out of their pocket.


    • Q: 50. Does Filing a Lawsuit Mean a Settlement Will Take Longer?


      Not necessarily. Litigation always takes a little longer because big money is involved and insurance companies will commit to an extensive investigation before they decided to pay bigger money for a settlement. Money transactions always take time.

      Also, courts tend to set deadlines far in advance and attorneys use all of the available time for each stage of a case (ask me about the typical stages of a lawsuit).

    • Q: 51. Will I Get Sued by my Medical Providers During a Lawsuit?


      Shaw Law can help prevent this from happening. One way is to pay with your health insurance. Some business landowners have a separate insurance policy covering medical payments for bills of people injured on its land regardless of fault. It is rare, but it does exist. We ask whether this coverage exists in every single claim or case we handle for you. If it exists, we can get SOME bills paid up to the amount of the policy limits owned by the landowner/business quickly.

      Indiana premises law (law when somebody is hurt on another’s land) does NOT require any business or landowner to pay your medical bills.

      Nobody is responsible to pay anything to you before it is proven that they were “at fault” or responsible in some way for the injuries caused by acting unreasonably under the circumstances. Just like an alleged criminal is presumed to be innocent in a criminal court of law, a landowner is presumed to not be responsible for anything – including medical bill payments – until it is proven.

      There are two ways to prove it and get your medical bills paid: (1) a settlement and (2) a jury verdict.

      We will try to contact your medical billers and see if they are willing to delay collection until your case is over.

      Or we will see if a litigation lender is willing to lend you money with your case acting as your collateral.

    • Q: 52. Why Does Discovery (Investigation) Part of Lawsuit Take So Long?


      Whenever big money is involved (and this includes settlements), the insurance company want to make certain it is deserved. They will check for fraud. They will check and see if your injuries can be blamed on something that happened in your past; or something that happened after your fall. This includes poring over your medical records before and after your fall. It might include talking to your doctor or another reviewing doctor to look over your records.

      They will want to ask why you fell. And they will want to see if the business landowner truly did something unreasonable that caused your fall. That includes talking to witnesses.

      All of this takes time. And your patience. But, if you hang in there, most people find it was worth the wait.


    • Q: 53. Why Do We Keep Talking About Fault? Wasn’t this an accident?

      A: Negligence cases like slip-and-fall cases require you prove the landowner was “at fault” for causing your fall. This means the landowner acted unreasonably under the circumstances (failing to plow/salt when knowing ice/snow was in a parking lot).

    • Q: 54. Why Must I Prove “Fault” Rather than the Defendant?

      A: Indiana law requires the plaintiff to “prove” fault. This is often called the “burden of proof.” Our American system of law requires the injured person to prove the Defendant landowner was at fault.

    • Q: 55. What is the Difference Between “Fault” and “Negligence?”


      In order to win a slip and fall case, the injured person must be able to prove two things:

      • A hazardous condition on the property caused the fall and
      • The defendant (the property owner) had “notice” of the hazard.

      This might sound elementary but it’s amazing how many times the two elements can get confusing. Being able to prove these elements is necessary to move your case forward to a jury. Oftentimes, a defendant property owner’s lawyer will file what is called a “Motion for Summary Judgment” that asks the judge to throw the case out of court before a trial because one or both of these elements cannot be proven. This is because Indiana follows laws from a long time ago that require these two elements be shown in order to win.

      Indiana law requires that we prove the Defendant landowner or business was “at fault” or “negligent” over 50% for the fall to recover damages for any harms and losses you might have suffered.

    • Q: 56. How Can They Blame Me When Nobody Witnessed the Fall?


      Indiana law follows a certain legal standard when determining who was actually at fault for the fall. If you were invited onto the land as a guest or customer, a jury is entitled to determine if you were being careful or “should have known” about the hazardous condition that caused your fall.

      The Defendant has the burden of proof on this concept. In other words, the Defendant must prove your fault. This proof can come from various sources such as statements made by you at the scene (or later) and other witnesses who saw the hazardous condition before or after the fall. Warning signs can also be discussed as proof of your lack of carefulness.

    • Q: 57. How Do I Prove Their Fault When There Were No Witnesses?

      A: There are many ways to prove Defendant’s fault. We can ask them to give statements; we can review incident reports; we can review safety guidelines written by the store with regard to inspections or plowing/salting policies. And we can check to see if those plowing/salting efforts were actually done or not around the date of your fall.

    • Q: 58. Who Determines “Fault”? The Attorneys? The Judge? The Jury?

      A: The jury officially decides fault. But, before a jury trial commences, the attorneys attempt to convince each other of the fault of each party when reaching a monetary figure.

    • Q: 59. Why Do I Get Less Settlement Money If I Was Partially At Fault?


      Because of Indiana law which says that “fault” is divided amongst the parties involved (you and the Defendant). And if your fault exists in some portion, then your settlement/verdict is reduced by that same portion.

      For example, let’s say you have a case worth $10 for an injury. As long as the Defendant is 50% or more at fault, you can recover damages. But, let’s say your fault is determined to be 30% for not observing a warning sign near the hazard – your total settlement/verdict would then be $7 ($10 – 30% = $7)

    • Q: 60. Must I 100% Know What Caused Me to Fall? What is it was Liquid?

      A: Yes. Indiana law says you must know what caused you to fall. You do not need to know the specific name of a liquid or why it was there, but you must know and testify it was the liquid that caused you to slip (or ice or snow or tripping hazard like uneven curbs or pavement).

    • Q: 61. What is Notice? Why Must I Prove They Had Notice of the Hazard?


      You must show the landowner/Defendant/business had “notice” of the hazard before you fell (or should have known).

      This is a trickier concept. Many people have a hard time understanding why notice to the defendant property owner is required to be proven by the injured person. Once again, it’s old Indiana law. It’s rooted in a sense of fairness to the landowner. If the landowner did not know there was a hazard, why should he be held responsible for not fixing it?

      Consequently, you must show the landowner knew about the hazard. This means the owner had actual knowledge or actual notice or the owner should have known about the hazard (known as constructive knowledge or constructive notice) and didn’t fix the problem or warn others about it.

      How long the hazard existed in its particular spot helps determine whether the defendant knew or should have known about the hazard. Clearly, if something is completely unknown to the defendant and impossible for him to discover, you cannot win your case. That wouldn’t be fair to the property owner.

      On the other hand, if you can show the hazard was caused by the natural activities of the property owner, like a leaky cooler in a grocery store, you might not be required to prove “notice” at all. It might be assumed the landowner knew by law.

      The basic idea by requiring you to “prove” notice is that it would be unfair to businesses or landowners to pay damages for hazards they did not know about or should have known about.

    • Q: 62. What Is the Standard of Care and Why is it Important?


      The “standard of care” is the legal obligation the Defendant owed you. And that is determined by your status on the land. Trespassers are not owed much in the way of a duty – standard of care.

      Guests and customers are owed the highest duty. That is often called “reasonable care.” It means the Defendant must have acted “reasonably” under the circumstances.

      For example, let’s say you fell in a parking lot on ice. The Defendant plowed and salted 15 minutes earlier. The mere fact you fell on ice does not mean you are entitled to damages – you must prove the Defendant acted “unreasonably.” In this example, the Defendant will present a very strong argument it acted reasonably before your fall to prevent your fall.

    • Q: 63. How Do I Prove the Landowner Acted Unreasonably?


      We can ask them to give statements; we can review incident reports; we can review safety guidelines written by the store with regard to inspections or plowing/salting policies. And we can check to see if those plowing/salting efforts were actually done or not around the date of your fall.

      If the Defendant knew bad weather was going to happen in the early morning hours and the store/business opened at 9 AM, then showing the Defendant did not plow/salt until after opening hours could be considered “unreasonable.”

    • Q: 64. If Snowing at the Time of my Fall, Can I Prove Fault Still?


      Probably not. Indiana law says the Defendant must have a chance to “remedy” or fix the hazardous condition. And there are Indiana appellate cases that rule landowners cannot be expected to fix parking lots or sidewalks during an active snowstorm. Of course, the facts depend heavily upon when the snow started or stopped.

      See our previous link (here) for what to do immediately after a fall to help get a settlement fairly and quickly.

    • Q: 65. If No Warning Signs At Time of Fall, Do I Automatically Win?


      It depends. Warning signs are designed to provide you with notice of the hazardous condition before you fell. If you had notice of a hazard and chose to voluntarily walk upon it anyway, then you cannot recover damages.

      However, many warning signs are not adequate in content or placement. Shaw Law has recovered damages in many, many cases where warning signs were present before a fall. See Shaw Law for details.

    • Q: 66. If Warning Signs Were There Before I Fell, Do I Automatically Lose?


      It depends. Shaw Law has recovered damages in many, many cases where warning signs were present before a fall. Many warning signs are not adequate in content or placement.

      See Shaw Law for details.

      Warning signs are designed to provide you with notice of the hazardous condition before you fell. If you had notice of a hazard and chose to voluntarily walk upon it anyway, then you cannot recover damages.


    • Q: 67. What Does “Cooperating” With a Lawsuit Mean?

      A: Shaw Law requires you check your texts and emails regularly as that is the best way for us to keep in constant contact. Lawsuits move quickly and sometimes we need to be able to have communication with you on a moment’s notice.

    • Q: 68. Do I Have Any Say in the Settlement Amount?

      A: Yes. You are the final boss of a settlement. Shaw Law provides advice based upon 35+ years of doing premises liability cases. But you make the final decision as to what is right for you.

    • Q: 69. What If We Disagree as to the Final Settlement Amount Offered?

      A: It could mean a jury trial. And Shaw Law is not afraid to go to a jury trial (see our results page herein). You are the final boss of a settlement. Shaw Law provides advice based upon 35+ years of doing premises liability cases. But you make the final decision as to what is right for you.


    • Q: 70. What Can the Other Attorney Force Me to Do During a Lawsuit?


      During the discovery (investigation) phase of a lawsuit, the law requires you to answer written questions. After that, you could be required to answer questions during an oral examination (deposition). Very rarely (less than 2% of the cases) you could be required to meet with a doctor of Defendant’s choice to get examined.

      Of course, Shaw Law will be there with you every step of the way.

    • Q: 71. What are Interrogatories? Why Must I Answer Written Questions?


      Discovery is often called “investigation” stageA lawsuit makes the insurance company assign the case to a lawyer or law firm to use discovery procedures. Both sides, including us, have the right to use discovery procedures. Discovery is synonymous with investigation and includes:

      Interrogatories: are written questions to/from the other side, which have to be answered in writing under oath. They send approximately 30 (thirty) questions to you. We must answer them timely, usually within one month. I will help you type the answers and rephrase them, but you must fill out the answers initially after I send them to you by email or mail. Then we will get together with you before we send the answers to the other side.

      You will not always have complete answers. In fact, some of the questions are directed only to me. But, you need to do your best and fill out your portion quickly and return ONLY TO ME. Shaw Law will finish the answers and raise proper objections.

    • Q: 72. What is a Deposition and Must I Do a Deposition in My Lawsuit?


      Discovery is often called “investigation” stageA lawsuit makes the insurance company assign the case to a lawyer or law firm to use discovery procedures. Both sides, including us, have the right to use discovery procedures. Discovery is synonymous with investigation and includes:

      Depositions. Yes, you will have to attend a deposition (the good news is this can often be done at home from your cell phone/computer and Shaw Law always tries initially to schedule a deposition in this fashion).

      Shaw Law will prepare you beforehand for the deposition. We will send you informative videos to watch; handouts to read and we will call you to prepare (or meet) for anticipated and/or tricky questions from the other attorney.

      Your statement is under oath and will be transcribed. It can be used in future court proceedings or pretrial/trial briefs and pleadings. So, it is very important to get right.

      You typically only must attend one deposition (unless the time runs over).

    • Q: 73. Will Shaw Law Prepare Me Beforehand for my Deposition?

      A: Yes. Shaw Law will prepare you beforehand for the deposition extensively. We will send you informative videos to watch; handouts to read and we will call you to prepare (or meet) for anticipated and/or tricky questions from the other attorney.

    • Q: 74. Will the Judge or Jury Be There at the Deposition?

      A: No. Most depositions are now held by remote conferencing (Zoom). You will appear. Shaw Law will appear. The other attorney will appear. And a court reporter will appear to type your answers onto paper.

    • Q: 75. How Should I Dress at a Deposition?

      A: You will be under some scrutiny by the other attorney who will report back to the Defendant’s insurance company impressions they might have about you. While casual dress is appropriate, please refrain from tee-shirts with slogans, shorts or unusual outerwear. Also, please do not smoke on camera.

    • Q: 76. Why Must I Allow Them to See my Medical Records?

      A: Because Indiana law says your medical treatment is part of the allowable “discovery” (investigation process). After all, the nature and extent of your injury determines the amount of damages. We must be able to prove you were injured in order to recover damages. When you file a lawsuit, you have placed your bodily condition at issue.

    • Q: 77. Why Can They See My Old Unrelated Medical Records?


      When you file a lawsuit, you have placed your bodily condition at issue. Because Indiana law says your medical treatment is part of the allowable “discovery” (investigation process). After all, the nature and extent of your injury determines the amount of damages. We must be able to prove you were injured in order to recover damages.

      The other side wants the opportunity to see if you had pre-existing medical conditions or complaints of a similar nature before your case. Courts will allow that, but we typically ask all medical requests be limited to the prior 10 year period.

      Remember, seeing your old medical records does not necessarily mean they can be used as evidence in any future jury trial (but they can be asked about during your deposition as that stage of the case is still “investigation”).

    • Q: 78. Can They See my Mental Health/Rehab Records in this Case?

      A: Not without following proper procedures. There are specific laws that must be followed in order to see these private confidential records. Shaw Law typically requests a protective order (and limiting the records to prior 10 years) before allowing access.


    • Q: 79. Why Do I Get a Smaller Offer if I Had Arthritis Before My Injury?


      If the arthritis was in the same site as the current injury (and if it caused prior pain), then a Defendant will argue this injury did not “cause” your pain, but rather made it worse.

      While Indiana law still allows monetary damages to be recovered for pre-existing injuries that are made “worse,” Defense lawyers know juries tend to reduce the verdicts if the injury in your case has been injured/painful before this event.

    • Q: 80. Why Do You Say I Should Not Argue with the Other Lawyer?

      A: Being upset is okay, but being argumentative is not. Studies show that “likeable” people tend to get bigger verdicts/settlements. And argumentative people are often not perceived to be likeable. Let Shaw Law do the arguing with the other side – you should strive to be respectful and polite throughout the case to the other side and attorney. It pays off.


    • Q: 81. Who Gets the Settlement Check? Do I Need to Sign It?


      The insurance company sends Shaw Law the settlement check. Your agreement with Shaw Law allows us to sign it for your convenience. We will repay all medical liens, deduct our fees/expenses and send you the remainder.


    • Q: 82. How Long Does It Take After We Settle to Get Money?

      A: Typically, most insurance companies will send out checks to Shaw Law within 30 days of a settlement. Our bank will then take 3-5 business days for the check to clear. Then we will FedEx or wire your money for next day receipt.

    • Q: 83. How Do I Get My Check From You?

      A: Your choice – we can first-class mail it, FedEx, or wire it directly into your account for FREE.

    • Q: 84. What If Medicare or Medicaid Paid a Portion of My Bills?


      By law, Medicaid and Medicare must be paid back from your settlement proceeds. This law concept is called “subrogation” and you agreed to do that before you hired Shaw Law. It was in your health insurance agreement with Medicaid/Medicare. Shaw Law will help renegotiate the actual amount of money you must pay back.

      You want to make sure you repay Medicaid/Medicare in order to ensure continuing medical health coverage for the rest of your life.

    • Q: 85. Will my Settlement Amount Ever be Less Than Agreed Upon?


      No. You will see the amount you are going to get before a check is sent out.

      Also, the insurance company will not be allowed to settle for less than what we agreed upon. We will make certain any settlement agreement or release is in writing.

    • Q: 86. Can We Renegotiate Attorneys Fees After the Check Comes In?

      A: Not usually. We have a written contract before we started. But, often a settlement requires all persons/entities to reduce fees and expenses including yourself, lienholders and Shaw Law.

    • Q: 87. Why Must I Pay Back My Health Insurance? It’s my Insurance!


      By contract law, your health insurance must be paid back from your settlement proceeds. This law concept is called “subrogation” and you agreed to do that before you hired Shaw Law. It was in your health insurance agreement. Shaw Law will help renegotiate the actual amount of money you must pay back.

      We want to make sure we pay them back (at a reduced amount usually) so it does not interfere with your future health insurance coverage.

    • Q: 88. How We Will Settle? Will I Be There?


      There are many ways to settle. One way is for Shaw Law to communicate with the other side and its adjuster or attorney.

      But, the most common way is for all parties to meet at a scheduled “mediation” or “settlement conference” with the Judge’s appointed assistant to see if a settlement can be reached.

      You WILL BE THERE. Shaw Law will be there with you.

    • Q: 89. What is a Mediation? Is it Required by the Court?


      Mediation is a form of settlement negotiation conducted and assisted by an impartial attorney trained in the art of settling lawsuits. He acts as the “assistant” to the trial court Judge in this case.

      Unlike arbitration and other kinds of alternative dispute resolution, mediation is not a trial where something is decided – it simply is a chance to either settle your lawsuit or proceed to trial.

      Mediation is informal. Wear comfortable clothes.

      Show up about 15 minutes early so we can talk.

      You will not meet with the other side. You will only meet the Mediator with me seated by your side.

      Mediation happens in separate rooms where each side meets confidentially with the mediator.




      YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED TO SAY ANYTHING – NOT A SINGLE WORD. (We do all the talking normally as we explain the case to the Judge’s Mediator with you).


    • Q: 90. Is My Settlement Money Taxed by the IRS?

      A: No. Your settlement money is not taxed by the IRS (as long as lost wages is not a substantial portion of your settlement). You do not have to report it. There is no separate IRS schedule or form to fill out or attach to your taxes.


    • Q: 91. Can I Sue My Landlord for an Injury that Occurred in a Parking Lot?

      A: Yes. Your landlord is required to act reasonably when it comes to “common areas” of an apartment complex (parking lots, sidewalks, laundry rooms, meeting rooms, etc.) Generally, if the injury happens in a common area (parking lot, sidewalk, common area like a pool or stairway), then the case proceeds just as if you were a guest.

    • Q: 92. Can I Sue My Landlord for an Injury in my Own Apartment?


      Yes. But, if the injury happens inside your apartment, it is much more difficult but you can recover for “hidden” or “latent” defects known to the landlord but not to you before the injury event.

      Another exception is if the lease obligates the landlord to maintain something specifically inside your apartment.

      A final exception is you brought an unsafe condition to the landlord’s attention and he/she indicated a repair would be made, but it was not done (or done incorrectly).

    • Q: 93. Can I Sue a Business if I was the Victim of a Crime by Somebody Else?

      A: That depends. The criminal act by a third-party must have been foreseeable based upon the general classes of persons/business involved.

    • Q: 94. Does It Matter if I Fell Backward or Forward?


      Yes. The method of falling can provide some evidence of the type of hazardous condition that existed prior to your fall. For example, most trip-and-fall cases that involve uneven levels/cracks in pavement or obstructions in a pathway result in the injured person falling forward rather than backwards. This provides some corroboration of the hazard when looking retroactively at it.

      Many slip-and-falls on ice result in falls backwards. (There are always exceptions to these general scenarios).

    • Q: 95. What If I Fell at a Friend’s House? Can I Get Paid but Not Sue?

      A: Yes. Shaw Law can make a claim for injuries and not file a lawsuit at your instruction. The insurance company will pay for your damages generally. Your neighbor/friend will not have to pay damages in almost every circumstance.

    • Q: 96. Can I Sue My Employer if I Fell at Work?

      A: Generally, almost all workplace injuries are not allowed to bring a lawsuit or claim for injuries in a court of law. Most are required to be pursued exclusively through the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Act (I.C. 22-3-2-6 et. seq.).

    • Q: 97. If Worker’s Comp Insurance Paid Part of Bills, Must I Pay Them Back?

      A: Yes. The same concept applies as to your own health insurance carrier or Medicaid/Medicare (see answers above). Shaw Law will attempt to renegotiate a lower/reduced payment at settlement time.

    • Q: 98. What If I Fell on Land Next to a Business? Can I Sue?

      A: Premises liability is based upon “control” of the property and not ownership in deeds or tax rolls or who actually “owned” the land. Sometimes, a property management company can be responsible because they “controlled” the property. Similarly, a strip mall store can be sued even if the land was “owned” by somebody else and the business merely leased the property.

    • Q: 99. What is Meant by Damages? What Types Can I Recover?


      Indiana law dictates what can be recovered as specific types of “damages” in a personal injury lawsuit. A jury decides the amount of your damages (a Judge can only overturn for a verdict that is unreasonable or lacks a basis from the evidence and is very rarely done).

      These can include:

      1. the nature and extent of the injury and the effect of the injury upon your ability to function as a whole person;
      2. whether the injury was temporary or permanent;
      3. the value of lost earnings or loss or impairment of earning capacity;
      4. the physical pain and mental suffering you experienced and will experience in the future as a result of the injury;
      5. the reasonable value of necessary medical care, treatment, and services plaintiff incurred or will incur in the future;
      6. the aggravation of a pre-existing injury, if any;
      7. the disfigure or deformity caused by the injury (such as scars);
      8. your life expectancy (if the injury is permanent to calculate how long you must live with the pain).

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