It can happen when you least expect it. Maybe it is a wet floor, uncleared snow or ice, too much product in the aisle, spilled food, torn carpet, or uneven concrete; whatever the cause you have found yourself the victim of an accident due to no fault of your own.
Public buildings, walkways, parking lots and even another person’s home are required by law to be safe. If the owner or landlord fails to maintain their property, they are liable for anyone injured there.
When you are injured after a trip, slip or fall, you may be hurt, angry and confused about what to do. There are steps you should take to make sure you are protected and the information surrounding the accident is recorded.
Let’s take a look at what you need after a slip and fall accident.
Premises Liability is the law that protects the public when injured on someone else’s property. If you trip, fall or slip due to negligence on the part of the landlord, owner or manager, then you are legally entitled to seek damages for medical bills, any time lost from work and pain and suffering.
The insurance companies for their side will work very hard to disprove your claim. They will have all kinds of theories and claims as to why it was no one’s fault or even your own fault.
The number one rule for combatting their plan is to have concise and complete documentation of every aspect of the incident. You will need to become an onsite investigator and make sure your story is told properly.
Report the Incident
Unless your injuries are severe, you should immediately report the accident to the owner, landlord or manager on duty. Most places have a protocol in place to record as many details as possible. Try not to place any specific blame and do not accept any blame. Be honest and provide them the information, but do not sign away any liability.
If they do not offer to take a statement, request that they do and have them sign and date it with the correct time. Make sure you have a copy to take with you.
There should be pictures taken as soon as possible of the area where the accident occurred. You need to take your own to show the exact conditions at the time of your fall. If you do not take pictures, the other party might, and they may not always look the same.
If there is someone with you, ask them to take pictures from all angles. You may not know which ones will become important to your case, so just take several.
If you are by yourself and are able, then you should take the pictures. You can delete any that turn out to be unimportant, but try to capture as much of the scene as you can.
Seek Medical Treatment
Obviously, the next thing you should do is seek treatment for any injuries. Not only do you need a medical evaluation, but you need all injuries recorded. Medical records will become evidence if you choose to press charges and ask for reimbursement for damages.
This will also pinpoint the time of the accident and the doctor’s expert assessment as to the cause. Both of these will also be important facts if the case goes to trial. The lawyer for the other side may try to dispute both, so make sure you keep these records.
You should also be aware, that certain injuries may not be apparent right away. Head trauma or internal injuries may not be seen at first and it would take a doctor to fully examine you and rule out all possibilities.
You will need as much supporting evidence as you can gather. Make sure you take the time to talk to the people around you who saw what happened. You should ask for the names, phone numbers, and email addresses so you or your attorney can reach them at a later time if necessary.
If they are willing, you can also ask them to speak to the landlord, manager or owner to share what they saw. You need all of the information on the details of the incident properly documented. This paperwork prepares the way for reimbursement of any damages.
It can be difficult to prove responsibility for your accident, so it vital to documents and witness testimony.
Contact an Attorney
Most people do not like the thought of a lengthy legal battle or involving a lawyer, but in certain situations, it is a good idea. When injured with lost time from work and the inconvenience of pain and suffering, an attorney experienced in these type of cases could help you tremendously.
It is difficult to prove liability in cases of tripping and falling. Having an attorney who is familiar with the specific laws and has a solid track record will provide peace of mind for the proper handling of your case.
Do Not Discuss the Details of Your Slip and Fall Accident
After your initial report to the landlord, owner or manager, do not discuss the details of what happened with anyone other than your attorney.
Do not give a statement to the other party’s insurance company without your lawyer present or at least after receiving advice from your lawyer.
It is also a good idea to remember that any social media posts could affect any potential lawsuit. Do not talk about your accident or post the details on any of your sites. Any inconsistencies are tools for the other side.
Having an unexpected slip and fall accident can put a big strain on your life. The physical injuries along with the emotional distress can leave you confused as to what to do now.
You need a lawyer with proven experience in cases involving premises liability and negligence. They will work to protect your rights and give you the compensation you deserve.
For more information on how we can fight for you, reach out.