Slip and fall accidents may seem benign. However, these common accidents can cause serious damage and result in costly medical bills. Broken bones, brain injuries, and spinal injuries are very common with slip and fall accidents. If you have a slip in fall at a store or on someone else’s property, there are a few simple steps you should take immediately after an accident.
5 Steps to Take After a Slip and Fall
Your actions after a slip and fall accident can greatly impact a future insurance claim or lawsuit. The following steps will help to ensure that you receive the compensation that you deserve for your injuries.
1. Get Medical Attention
Whether you think you need medical attention or not it is a good idea to be seen by a medical professional. While most injuries will be bumps, bruises, and broken bones, you could also suffer internal injuries. You can not spot things like head trauma on your own. While head trauma may be uncommon, it could happen. Also, some injuries may take some time to manifest themselves.
It is important to document all of your injuries. Take pictures and be sure to keep all of your medical records. Documenting your injuries immediately after the accident is a good idea. The accident will still be fresh in your mind, and all of the little details are important.
2. Inspect the Area
Slip and fall accidents usually occur for a reason. Look around for the cause of the fall such as ice, snow, spilled food or liquids, uneven concrete, or holes in the ground. Abnormalities that have been there for a while are better for your case. For instance, if there is a hole in the floor that you fell on, chances are the person or store knows it is there. Therefore, they have a responsibility to fix the hole before an accident happens. You should also write down your version of the fall. This written document could be valuable evidence in any case. Also, your account of the event could help your attorney decide how to pursue a potential lawsuit.
3. Find Witnesses
Anyone that saw the accident and can help corroborate your account of the events is a good witness. Take down their information such as their phone number, address, and name. Even if the person didn’t see you fall they could still be a good witness in your case. Anyone that can provide information on the lighting, the condition of the floor, or even your pain after the accident could prove very useful for a lawsuit. Witnesses are especially important when the landowner attempts to dispute your claim.
4. Follow Necessary Procedure
If you slip and fall in a store chance are the store will have a policy in place to handle the incident. Ask the employees for an accident report or to speak with the manager. However, you should not make any attempt to resolve the issue immediately. Simply make sure the store is aware of the incident immediately. If an employee mentions that a similar situation has occurred or they knew about the problem area, make a note of their statements. You should attempt to get the name of the person that made the statement. Also, make sure to make a note of anyone else that heard the employee. Statements about previous incidents or knowledge of the issue could prove very useful in any proceeding litigation.
5. Take Photos
You should take as many photos of the scene as you can. Take photos as soon as you can. If you are unable to take photos at the time of the accident ask whoever is with you or a bystander to do it for you. You don’t want to give the property owner time to clean up the scene and fix the problem. If the property owner fixes the issue and then takes photos, it could be harmful to your case. You want to avoid being at the mercy of the property owners account of the event at all costs.
Never Settle Without Your Attorney
The chances are that in the days and weeks following your slip and fall insurance adjusters and attorneys that represent the property owner will make you a settlement offer. However, what you should keep in mind is that these people work for the property owner. They have zero concern for your injuries or your best interests. At the end of the day, their job is to save their employer as much money as possible. Therefore, they will often offer you much less than your case is worth.
Lastly, don’t speak to the attorneys or insurance adjusters for the property owner. They can and will use what you say to them against you. Hire a Boca Raton personal injury attorney and divert all questions about the event to them.