A slip and fall accident is the reason why hundreds of thousands of Americans seek emergency treatment each year. These accidents can leave you traumatized as well as seriously injured.
If you’re planning to sue you’ll need to be across all the right procedures. Get this wrong and you could mess up a claim. That’s why we’ve got you covered. Here’s what you need to do after your accident.
After Your Slip and Fall Accident
The steps you take immediately after your accident can have a major impact on an insurance claim or lawsuit. This applies both to what you do at the scene and shortly after you have received medical help.
Lots of slip and fall accidents are minor but it’s not uncommon to suffer broken bones, experience a head trauma or even internal injuries.
Written Documents and Immediate Medical Treatment
Ensure a medical professional examines and treats you as fast as possible after the incident. Any significant delays could potentially reduce the value of your slip and fall case.
Getting seen quickly by a physician will give you the best chance of a speedy recovery. It also demonstrates that you took reasonable steps to get your injuries looked at.
You’ll need to get a professional diagnosis in writing that clearly explains that your injuries were due to the fall.
Some health problems can take longer to appear. If you’ve suffered something like a broken arm or have cuts and bruises though, it is vital to have written documents to show when and how the injury happened.
Checking Where You Fell
A lot of slip and fall accidents happen for an obvious reason. Check for potential causes such as ice, snow, loose carpets, spilled food, and uneven paving.
Put down in writing your version of the fall as soon as you possibly can. Your initial impression of what happened may be valuable evidence in court. It will also be useful in helping an attorney decide how to handle any lawsuit.
Gather up the names and contact details of those who were closeby when the accident occurred. These people will be those who witnessed the fall along with anyone else who was there shortly after the incident.
It’s highly likely you’ll need to call on the help of your witnesses if a landowner disputes your claim. They can help you to prove fault. Even if a person didn’t see the actual fall, make a note of their name and number.
They may still be helpful by being able to provide a description of any pain you suffered at the time and the conditions of the floor or lighting.
Making an Accident Report
If the incident occurred at a store or place of business, you should inform a member of staff and ensure an accident report is completed. Avoid getting into a discussion or argument about fault but do make any relevant personnel aware of the accident.
You should not agree to sign anything at this point even if you are asked to do so. By doing so, you could seriously prejudice your case without even realizing it at the time.
Occasionally a staff member might make a comment. They could, for example, suggest that similar types of incidents have happened before.
They might also acknowledge that they were already aware of any potential dangers that could have caused your fall.
In these cases, make sure you keep a note of who the staff member was and what it was they said. If anybody else overheard their remarks then take their contact details too.
If possible, you could even use a device such as your smartphone to record the remarks of staff and witnesses. This could be useful evidence following your slip and fall accident.
More Potential Documentation
If your accident happened at a rental property, the landlord should take down a report of the incident. It could be that you were taken by emergency staff to a hospital for treatment.
If so, you or one of your family members should make a call back to report the incident as soon as possible. Before leaving the scene, or after you leave the hospital, you must get a copy of the accident report.
This applies even if a police report was not taken. Juries may not take your case seriously if the slip and fall accident was not reported on the same day.
It could also affect the amount of compensation you receive even if your case is successful.
Take Lots of Photos
Always try and take pictures of the scene after the accident and before the conditions change. It’s important to have your own photographs of how the ground looked when you fell.
It’s possible that you might not have your smartphone with you. It might also have been damaged in the fall. In these instances, ask a witness to take the photos on your behalf. Ask them to send them on to you.
A business owner might well clean or repair whatever caused you to fall. They could do this very quickly after the accident. Taking pictures as soon as possible can be especially important if you fell on any liquid.
This is because liquids can dry up or be cleaned away fast. You should also remember to take photos of your own actual injuries.
Always save everything. Place the shoes and clothing you were wearing in a safe storage place. Remember to take photos of these as well.
You could well be in a state of shock by what just happened. Try to keep focused. You should avoid talking too much.
It’s perfectly all right to be gracious and to accept any offers of help. You should though steer away from discussing how the fall happened or apportioning any blame.
Liability in Slip and Fall Accidents
You may want to hold another party responsible for the injuries you’ve experienced in a slip and fall accident. To do this, you will normally need to prove that a property owner should have recognized that there was a dangerous condition.
This could be something like an uneven walking surface or a pothole. They may have failed to remove or repair what was creating a potential danger.
They may also have actually caused the dangerous condition itself. This could have happened by not removing a hazardous obstacle or substance. It might then be argued that a reasonable person could see this would be likely to cause an accident.
Taking Preventative Measures
You should consider how long the hazardous condition or obstacle existed. It might have been long enough for a reasonable property owner to have taken action to eliminate the potential danger.
You might also need to find out if a property owner had processes in place to routinely check for potential hazards. If that was the case, you’ll need to know if these procedures were correctly followed.
It might be that there was a reasonable justification for the creation of a potential hazard. But, what’s important is to establish if that justification still existed at the time of the slip and fall.
You may also need to demonstrate that the hazardous condition could have been made less dangerous. That could have been through taking preventive measures.
These could include things like adequate warning signage or preventing access to the location itself.
Talking With an Attorney
Your injuries could be serious or you may suspect that your condition is likely to get worse. If so, the best thing would be to speak to an attorney who specializes in slip and fall accidents.
These attorneys will help you to build your case and ward off any challenges. A property owner might, for example, suggest that you were partially or wholly responsible for the accident that led to your injuries.
They could argue that you were engaging in an activity that might have prevented you from seeing a hazard. This could be something like talking or texting on your smartphone.
An experienced attorney will be able to guide you through all the legal process.
Attending Medical Treatment
It’s very important not to miss medical appointments and to follow your doctor’s recommended treatment. A pattern of missing medical appointments can be a red flag to jurors in a lawsuit.
They could assume from this that you weren’t seriously injured or had started to heal the moment you began to miss your appointments. The same would apply if you were to refuse treatment that had been recommended to you.
Always ask your doctor to consider forms of treatment such as physical or chiropractic therapy.
Other possible treatments could be injections or even surgery in very serious cases. Always make sure that you gather together all medical bills and medical records.
If you’ve been involved in a slip and fall accident, then you might want to consider filing a lawsuit. For the best outcome, make sure you do everything correctly immediately after the accident.
You should also consider hiring an attorney for the job. Find out how we can help you win your case. Get in touch with us now!
Call us now at 904 LAW-1212 (904 529-1212).
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