Lawyer for a Slip and Fall at JCPenney
JCPenney has been a significant player in the department store scene for decades, and most Americans are familiar with it. Many people have regularly shopped there. However, even well-established businesses such as JCPenney can be negligent in their legal duty to protect guests from injury due to hazardous property features in its stores. The most common type of accident to result from a hazardous property feature at a JCPenney store is a slip and fall accident.
If a JCPenney slip and fall accident injured you, an experienced premises liability lawyer from the Levin Firm can help. Our lawyers can explain the process of seeking compensation for your injury, answer legal questions about your claim, and tell you about our legal services to help you with this often complex process.
JCPenney was founded in 1902 by James Cash Penney, with the first store appearing in Wyoming under the name the Golden Rule. The company became one of the nation’s largest and best-known retail suppliers of apparel, home goods, jewelry, and beauty merchandise. The company prides itself on its commitment to diversity as a founding member of the National Minority Development Supplier Council and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council.
However, it sometimes fails in its duty to keep customers safe from hazards that can cause them to fall and sustain terrible injuries. When that happens, you will need a lawyer up to the task of fighting off the team of corporate lawyers that JCPenny will deploy to choke off the payment the company needs to provide so you can afford your medical expenses and other damages. You need a JCPenny slip and fall lawyer at the Levin Firm.
Hazards in a JCPenney Store That Can Cause a Slip and Fall
As committed as JCPenney is to diversity and corporate responsibility, the company must also ensure that its retail stores are safe for customers.
Some hazards that present in JCPenney stores that can result in slip and fall accidents include:
- Freshly mopped or waxed flooring.
- Damaged flooring, including torn carpets or tiles.
- Poor lighting in store areas, such as fitting rooms or staircases.
- Merchandise and displays cluttering store walkways.
- Spilled beverages.
- Damaged pavement in entryways.
- Potholes in the JCPenney parking lot.
Slip and Fall Accidents Can Result in Serious Injuries
Although slip and fall accidents might seem minor or even frivolous, these accidents can produce severe injuries. Falls are one of the leading causes of accidental death in the U.S. and one of the main causes of catastrophic injuries such as traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord injuries. According to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), around one million people seek treatment in emergency departments nationwide due to this type of accident.
Slip and fall accidents are more common and often more serious in individuals aged 65 and older. Older people experience declines in vision, balance, and physical strength that contribute to accidents. Falls account for 87 percent of all bone fractures in this age group, including hip fractures, which commonly render the injured person unable to live independently after the injury and can even lead to death.
Bone fractures are common in all age groups from slip and fall accidents. The bones in the arms and wrists are often broken due to the human instinct to attempt to catch oneself with outstretched arms. Broken kneecaps also commonly result from this accident.
When an individual slips and tries to keep themselves from falling, they will often twist the body—particularly the knees—outside the normal movement range. This twisting movement can damage soft tissue in the ligaments and tendons.
How Can an Attorney Can Help You With Your JCPenney Slip and Fall Case?
JCPenney and other retail companies must legally ensure that their property is free of hazardous features that could cause injuries to guests. The company must regularly inspect the premises to search for these hazards. JCPenny must promptly mitigate any Hazardous features it discovers or erect a prominent warning sign and barrier to warn guests of the hazard and keep them away from it.
When an individual slips and falls due to a hazardous property feature, they can seek compensation for the expenses and emotional effects of their injury through their state’s personal injury claims process. While this process allows the claimant to file a lawsuit if JCPenney’s insurance provider fails to compensate the claim, the claim will involve legal complexities and significant work to gather documentation. This process is often overwhelming for people who attempt to navigate it independently.
An experienced personal injury lawyer brings the experience necessary to prove the claim to insurers or the court and the resources to handle the legwork. Here is a look at some reasons why you need an attorney to assist you with your claim.
You Need Help Evaluating Your Claim
Once you agree to a settlement or the court issues a decision on your lawsuit, you are legally barred from asking for additional compensation for your claim, even if you later realize that the original amount was insignificant to cover all your expenses.
Your lawyer will communicate with an insurance claims adjuster, a judge, or a jury about the financial and emotional costs you incurred due to your injury. They will communicate this by establishing a case value and providing supporting documentation.
The value of your claim is not merely the amount of medical expenses you incurred from the JCPenney slip and fall. The value also includes the wages you lost while you were too injured to work and the amount of future earning capacity you likely will lose due to permanent injuries that impair your ability to work.
Additionally, your claim’s value includes compensation for expenses that don’t come with bills: the effects the injury has had on your life, such as causing you to experience pain and suffering or emotional distress.
Gathering Evidence and Documentation
Slip and fall accidents are the most common premises liability claims, which is a personal injury claim involving the negligence of a property owner or manager. One of the first pieces of documentation you need to prove your JCPenney slip and fall claim is proof that JCPenney has a significant tie to the property, either as its owner or as a tenant who leases the building.
Other documentation to prove the claim includes photos of the accident scene, surveillance video from the store, a copy of an official accident report to the company, eyewitness testimony, and even past complaints filed against the store for the same hazard. As noted, your attorney must justify the claim’s value by producing medical documentation, invoices, bills, and in some cases, witness testimony from experts such as medical or occupational specialists. An expert witness can clarify how your injury will likely impact you in the future.
Communicating With JCPenney’s Insurance Provider
JCPenney has an annual revenue of around $11.2 billion. With this income, they will use a high-powered insurance provider and in-house legal counsel to protect their assets. (Perhaps it should have used some of that money to fix the hazard that caused your slip and fall injury.) When you submit your claim, a claims adjuster will take up your claim.
The adjuster’s job is to protect the company’s bottom line by keeping its payouts on injury claims—and the publicity such claims generate—to a minimum. Perhaps the claims adjuster will try and get you to say that the accident was your fault because you were wearing the wrong shoes. Perhaps they will tell you that the measly settlement amount they offered is the most funding available for your claim. Insurance claims adjusters have many tactics they use to reduce your claim.
Having an experienced lawyer manage communication with JCPenney’s insurance provider can protect your claim from these tactics.
You Need Help Filing a Lawsuit
While courts across the country try to make filing a legal claim as simple as possible, it is not so simple. Not understanding that the deadline on personal injury claims—known as the statute of limitations—can and your ability to receive compensation for your injuries.
Failing to file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires will almost always result in losing the right to use the court process when seeking compensation for your injury. Without the court process as a consequence for insurers who fail to compensate claims, the insurer won’t offer a settlement either, simply because they no longer have to.
Once you file the lawsuit, the discovery process begins. This step is when your attorney obtains evidence from JCPenney, deposes witnesses, and files motions in preparation for trial. These activities are extremely difficult for those without experience in the legal arena.
Understanding the Settlement JCPenney Offered You
Even if you hire an attorney, you will make all major decisions in your JCPenney slip and fall claim. Your attorney provides you with the guidance and information you need to understand the process, your claim value, and what constitutes a fair settlement.
In doing so, they can assist you in seeking the compensation you deserve by negotiating with the insurance claims adjuster to get them to increase their offer and gathering as much evidence as needed to prove to the court the compensation you need.
If a JCPenney Slip and Fall Accident Injured You, We Can Help
Being injured in a slip and fall accident at JCPenney can leave you with serious injuries and the corresponding effects. This aftermath is not the time you want to worry about gathering evidence and dealing with a high-powered insurance provider. With our experienced lawyers on your side, you don’t have to.
Let an experienced personal injury lawyer from the Levin Firm help you understand the process of seeking compensation for your JCPenney slip and fall claim. For a free case evaluation, contact us online or by calling (215) 825-5183.