According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, questionable slip-and-fall claims are on the rise. From 2010 to 2011, the number of potentially fraudulent claims increased by 12 percent, the NCIB reports. In 2010, slip-and-fall victims made 1,944 claims, and the number jumped to 2,168 the next year.
The NICB is now reexamining some of these questionable slip-and-fall accidents because some of them could turn out to be fraudulent. According to the NCIB, questionable slip-and-falls sometimes happen in small businesses, where someone trips and is hurt. The injury may not be major, but sometimes the victim approaches the small business owner directly, who then pays him or her a small lump sum to cover medical expenses in order to avoid litigation.
This way of doing things, without involving law enforcement or legal counsel, can sometimes encourage fraud as patrons see that some victims are paid by the business owner with no questions asked.
However, we know that many Atlanta area residents do suffer from legitimate slip-and-fall injuries. It is important that reports about fraud do not deter these victims from coming forward and seeking the compensation that is necessary to care for their injuries.
Slipping on wet floors and in other hazardous conditions happens–in big businesses and small businesses–because of a violation of safety regulations. Sometimes, victims may be unaware of whether these accidents do merit a slip-and-fall claim, and in those cases it is wise to seek professional legal counsel.
Those who do make fraudulent premises liability claims should be held accountable, but so too should the establishments that fail to offer hazard-free, safe environments to its patrons.
Source: Claims Journal, “Questionable Slip and Fall Claims Increase 12 Percent,” May 8, 2012