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Las Vegas among leading cities for slip-and-fall scams

Las Vegas is the 30th-largest city in the U.S., but a new study indicates that the city is outpunching its weight class when it comes to dubious slip-and-fall personal injury claims against local businesses. The report, released by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, found that Las Vegas had the fifth-highest number of questionable premises liability claims from the beginning of 2010 through the end of 2011.

Part of the disparity in the number of slip-and-fall claims certainly has to do with the tourist industry that draws so many out-of-towners each year. But while alleged slip-and-falls at casinos and other tourist spots make up a large portion of the dubious claims, small businesses are also regularly targeted both locally and around the country, according to an executive with the Retail Association of Nevada.

The NICB report noted that a common scheme is to fake a premises liability-related injury in a small business such as a retail store, then claim to have received medical treatment and give the small business owner the option of paying the "bill" in cash in order to avoid a lawsuit.

Las Vegas had 62 dubious slip-and-fall claims filed against its businesses from Jan. 1, 2010 to Dec. 31, 2011. That was the fifth-highest figure, behind only New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Chicago -- four much larger cities by population.

No business owner wants to go through a lawsuit brought by a visitor, and it can be tempting to settle the matter quickly with a cash payout. But paying for a suspicious injury only encourages scammers to prey on other businesses and raises prices for customers. Anyone who is facing legal problems based on an alleged slip-and-fall injury should consult with an attorney before deciding what to do.

Source: Lahontan Valley News, "Las Vegas Ranks Fifth In Nation In Questionable Slip And Fall Claims," Sean Whaley, May 8, 2012

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