Slip and fall accidents are all too common, and many times aren’t any fault of the victim. Often business owners or landlords are to blame because they haven’t properly maintained their buildings or parking lots and if you are injured on their property due to their negligence, you could be entitled to compensation for medical bills, time you have had to be away from work due to the injury, or compensation for pain and suffering.
What you do after a slip and fall accident is crucial to building your case. Here’s what to do in the moments, hours and days following the accident.
- Report the incident immediately. Make sure you file a written report with a store or property manager and get a copy before you leave. Many places of business will actually have a form on hand for you to fill out if you are injured on their property.Make sure to keep a list of all witnesses, anybody who made a statement or any person that took statements. That way, if you decide to take legal action, you will have people to back up your story. If no one saw you fall, but there were people there shortly after who saw you on the ground and could describe the conditions of the area you fell, get their information too.
- Take photos of the area you fell. Include any stairs, burnt out light bulbs, uneven concrete, or anything else that might have contributed to the fall. Make sure that your camera documents the date that the photos were taken and be sure to back the photos up to at least one place (two is better) as soon as you get home in case something happens to the camera or phone that you took the photos on. You can also email the photos to yourself.
You should also write out a detailed account of what happened as soon as possible after the fall, while it’s still fresh in your memory. Make note of what any store employees or people at the location of the fall said to you and get their contact information. This type of account could be valuable evidence in court.
- Place the shoes and clothing you were wearing during the accident in safe storage and take photos of them. You might need them at a later date.
- Seek medical help immediately. Your health and safety is the number one priority. Even if you don’t think your injuries are extremely serious, still get those injuries documented so you will be able to provide proof if you choose to seek compensation for your medical bills.
If you hit your head, it is especially important to get check out by a doctor and have someone close to you keep an eye on you during the hours following the fall. Concussions are common injuries accompanying falls and people should be monitored while recovering.
- It’s important to keep calm throughout this process. You might be a little disoriented, but it’s important to pay attention to what those around you are saying and doing. You can let people help you and be gracious, but limit communication as much as possible. Keep talk about how the fall happened to a minimum and don’t make any immediate demands.
- Know that after the fall you may be contacted by insurance adjusters and the property or storeowner’s attorneys. Do not speak with anyone until you have had a chance to speak with an attorney. Keep in mind that it is these people’s job to make sure that you get paid as little as possible. Don’t get caught up in talking with them about the details of what happened.
- Call an attorney, especially if you think that your injuries are serious, could get worse, or have caused you lasting damage. Since slip and fall cases are difficult to prove, having an experienced attorney on your side is crucial. Retaining an attorney who knows how to deal with insurance companies may be your best bet in winning your case.
The personal injury attorneys at Roy & Associates, P.A. in West Palm Beach know that a bad fall can be a major disruption in your life and we are passionate about helping people get the compensation they deserve after a slip and fall accident. Call us today at 561-729-0095.
The article above is intended for educational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. If you need legal advice, contact an attorney.