A slip and fall is a type of personal injury lawsuit that utilizes the legal theory of negligence. Negligence is a legal cause of action that can describe any number of accidents. It is defined as the failure of a person or entity (a business, for example) to act with an appropriate level of care that someone under the same circumstances would exercise. The person or entity owes others a duty of care through certain actions, and sometimes inaction, to prevent injury.
You can take some steps immediately following a slip and fall accident to protect your rights later on.
Look at the area where the injury occurred first. What caused you to fall? Take note of all conditions, even if they do not seem particularly important to you. Additionally, get the names of any people who were nearby at the time of your injury. They may have witnessed the accident. They could describe the conditions leading up to your injury, even if they didn’t see you fall.
Always put your safety first. Don’t make sudden movements after you fall, such as jumping back on your feet immediately. You run the risk of exacerbating an injury – especially if you hurt your back or spine. Rather, pay attention to any sharp pains, aches, or other sensations. Keep still until paramedics arrive if you have back pain or tingling in your arms and legs. It could be a serious injury.
Report Your Slip, Trip, and Fall Accident to Someone
If you were with someone when you fell, have that person report your fall accident to the authorities on your behalf. You should tell a supervisor or manager if you fell down at work, your employer if you fell down at work, or the property owner if you fell down on a private property.
Before you leave the premises, report the fall accident to someone. No matter where the slip, trip, and fall occurs-in a store, on the sidewalk, or at a friend’s house, make sure you notify the manager, owner, or landlord. Ask the manager, owner, or landlord to make a written report about the incident, and request a copy before you leave. Reporting the accident can put it down on official record, documenting that it occurred and that you told someone. If you don’t have an accident report, you won’t have as strong of a case. Make sure you get a copy of the accident report before you leave the premises.
Speak with the manager on duty if your injury occurred in a store or business. Ask them to record the incident. Likewise, if anyone mentions that this type of incident has happened before or that they “knew it would happen,” make sure you get their name.
Gather Evidence by Taking Photographs
It is important to collect the names, addresses, phone numbers, and emails of all potential witnesses. If you decide to pursue a legal claim, you could use their statements to prove your claim. Make sure to take pictures of the EXACT location where you fell, as well as any stairs, icy patches, or other conditions that contributed to your accident. Write down what you were doing right before the accident, how you fell, and any other details, including the exact time and date. Also, store the shoes and clothing you wore during the accident in a safe place. They may prove useful later.
Gather any evidence available at the location of the slip and fall accident before you leave. Take as many pictures as possible, including close-up and wide-angle views, from many different directions, of the EXACT location where you fell, as well as any conditions that contributed to your fall. If possible, take a picture of the dangerous property element that caused you to fall, such as a puddle of water or exposed cord. Photograph your injuries, too. You may want to take photographs if your clothes are wet as a result of falling into a puddle.
Include key details such as the date, time, and location of your slip and fall accident in your written description. Mention who you spoke to at the store or business. Include the names of anyone who saw you fall, along with their contact information. You could use them as eyewitnesses later. Ask for a copy of the video footage if you fell in a space with video surveillance, such as a parking lot.
Gathering information about your accident can help you strengthen your case. Stay calm and limit your contact with the property owner or manager. Do not post any details about your accident on social media. Consult an attorney before giving an insurance company a statement.
Avoid taking any blame. Do not go into detail about how you fell. Keep your talk to a minimum without being rude because later, these people may testify about what you said. There have been cases where the person downplayed their injuries, explained the reason for their fall, or even took the blame in casual conversations.
If you fall on a homeowner’s property, inform them of your fall, but try not to become emotional or angry. Limit your conversations with them, and don’t argue with them. For example, if you slip and fall on a friend’s property, slip and fall attorneys usually pursue compensation from the homeowner’s insurance policy rather than the defendant’s assets (except in rare circumstances). As a result, most insurance companies pay claims. If possible, try to get the name and insurance information of the homeowner (or tenant AND landlord).
See a Doctor
In the aftermath of a slip, trip, and fall accident, your health or the health of a loved one should be your top priority. If you’ve been injured, you should visit a doctor so that your injuries can be documented properly. If you decide to seek compensation for your injuries, your medical records will be important pieces of evidence.
After a slip, trip, or fall accident, go to a doctor’s office or hospital. A hospital visit can diagnose an injury and put you on the road to recovery. It can also demonstrate to an insurance company that you minimized your losses rather than exacerbating them. You should request copies of your accident-related medical records, x-rays, test results, paperwork, and bills for future reference.
Whenever you miss medical appointments, most jurors will assume that you were not seriously injured or that you had begun to heal whenever you missed appointments. The same holds true if you refuse recommended treatment.
Your injuries should be treated promptly. You will be able to prove that you were injured in the accident.
File an Insurance Claim
Call your insurance company to file your injury claim after you have taken care of your medical needs. Most likely, the owner of the property will be liable for the damages following a fall. It could be an individual, a business, or the government, depending on where your accident occurred. Report your accident to your property owner’s insurance provider. Contact a slip and fall accident attorney before you proceed with your claim.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
Consult an attorney as soon as possible after your accident. An experienced slip and fall attorney can review the incident and let you know what your rights are. In addition, a lawyer can investigate the incident and advise you on the best course of action going forward.
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