Over 28 million Americans visit the physician for unintentional injuries, which includes slip and fall accidents.
Understanding the critical steps is key to increasing your chances of getting a successful claim and giving you peace of mind. If not, you could end up with an unsatisfactory settlement or not getting one at all.
Sounds like you? Luckily, you’ve come to the right place. Here are the essential tips to take following a slip and fall accident.
slip and fall accidents: Seek Medical Care
Before filing an accident claim, consider your injuries and seek medical attention.
If you haven’t suffered an obvious trauma, it’s wise to book an appointment with a physician because symptoms can manifest later on. This includes traumatic brain, neck, and back injuries. Having a doctor vouch for you can also be used in court as evidence, so it’s an important step to take.
On the flip side, if you’ve received medical attention when calling 911, always follow up with your regular physician as a safety precaution.
Understand the Injuries Caused by Slips and Falls
You may not know the different injuries often caused by slips and falls. The most common ones include broken bones, sprained ankles or wrists, and knee damage. But you can also claim if you’ve found scapes or bruises after the incident.
Often, people are injured if uneven flooring, grease, or spills haven’t been cleaned. You may also be injured by tripping over an obstruction in the walkway or even falling down an elevator shaft.
Regardless of how minor or major the injury is, you must consult with an attorney to see whether you’re eligible to claim.
slip and fall accidents: Report the Accident
The only way to make a claim for damages is if you report the accident. If you slip or fall in a business, file an incident report and request a copy. It’s important that the document details what happened so that you can use it as evidence.
Although it’s a traumatic event, stay calm and be respectful to the manager. You don’t want anything negative to be used against you in court. In extreme cases, call the police and they’ll give you a report that you can use instead.
slip and fall accidents: Get the Necessary Contact Details
When dealing with accident injuries, you must get contact information from the business owner or manager. You should also ask for their insurance provider so you know where to make the claim. In most cases, the negligent party should hand over the details, but if they don’t contact the police or an accident attorney for guidance.
slip and fall accidents: Find Witnesses
Spot anyone who saw the accident? Then, ask whether you can get their contact details too.
You and the business owner will have different perspectives on the incident, so you need a neutral party to provide evidence. In a legal case, having a witness speak is as valuable as photographic proof, making them invaluable.
Make sure you ask for their name, physical address, and phone number. Once you find a credible accident lawyer, they will contact the witnesses on your behalf.
One of the most important steps is documenting everything.
Note down the names of any employees present and take photos of your injuries. It’s also wise to snap a photo of the cause of the accident, whether it was a wet floor with no signage or a broken handrail. Ideally, get a wide shot of the location so it’s easier to see.
Although it’s less obvious, save your shoes and clothes in a safe place because they could be useful evidence in your case.
Request Security Footage
If there are any cameras on the premises, ask security for the footage. The beauty is that most stores and companies that serve customers have cameras running 24 hours a day, which can play an invaluable role in your case. Note, if you don’t request it, the company will likely throw it away, so act quickly.
Don’t Give a Statement
Don’t ever feel forced to give a statement, regardless of who asks. A good rule of thumb is limiting how much you speak with the manager or business owner. Make sure you don’t share the incident with anyone who could use it against you as that could impact the case.
Avoid Posting on Social Media
In a similar vein, avoid posting about the slip or fall on social media. Many insurance providers and attorneys search platforms to determine whether they can find any proof or inconsistencies in the claim. So, if you said anything that goes against the business owner, you could lose out on a settlement.
Start a Journal
Suffering an injury is emotionally distressing, and you should find a healthy outlet. That’s why many attorneys recommend starting a journal to detail your day-to-day struggles and how it has impacted your quality of life. But make sure you date each page and highlight anything that you could overlook later on.
If you haven’t already, keep the journal safe with the police report, any medical bills or reports, and any correspondence you’ve had with the property owner. You should also detail the exact time and date of the fall along with what you were doing and the conditions that caused it.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
When you’re ready, find a personal injury lawyer in your area that will take the case.
You want to discover your legal options after an injury, regardless of your suffering. It also means you needn’t worry about chasing up the property manager or dealing with insurance companies. If you’re unfamiliar with personal injury lawyers, check out this article source for more info.
Not sure where to find a credible attorney?
Start by asking your loved ones whether they could recommend a firm or an individual. This is useful if your friend or family member has been in a similar situation and has won the case. Or, if you already work with a lawyer, ask if they can recommend one who specializes in personal injury law.
When you have several leads, check out their website and read through online reviews on third-party sites like Yelp. A good rule of thumb is to choose a lawyer who has a collection of positive reviews from past clients. If you notice any reoccurring negative comments, that’s a major red flag and you should keep looking.
Once you have the top three candidates, schedule a free consultation to learn about the lawyer’s expertise and whether they’re the right fit. Each one should give you advice about your case and how they would fight your corner.
You should also come equipped with questions so that you’re on the right page. For instance, ask how you’ll both communicate and about payment options. Although it varies between firms, most accident attorneys ask for a fee once the case has been resolved.
Lodge a Public Liability Claim
With the help of your lawyer, lodge a claim against the business or property owner. This will be against the party at fault and their insurance company, who will, hopefully, pay out.
If you win the settlement, you should be compensated for your injuries. These claims are settled quickly for minor injuries because it’s easier to make a decision with the evidence at hand. On the flip side, the claim could take longer if you’ve suffered substantial injuries, especially if they are long-term ailments.
Know the Common Mistakes to Avoid
Many accident victims make common mistakes that can hinder their claims.
One of the biggest mistakes is standing up immediately after the accident. This is a major no-no if you’ve fallen on your back or there’s too much pain. It’s wise to wait until an ambulance arrives so you don’t cause further damage.
Despite how embarrassing the fall was, don’t blame yourself in front of others. If you do, the property or business owner could use that against you in court. Likewise accusing someone else of the incident.
Further, don’t sign any documents from an authorized person. But note down what the business owner wants you to sign so that you can tell your attorney. And never share false information because it will hurt your chances at a settlement.
Claim Against a Slip and Fall Accident Today
Now you know the steps to take after a slip and fall accident, it’s time to make a claim.
Make sure that you take the necessary contact details and don’t accuse anyone or share a fake claim because that will be used against you. Victims should also find a reputable attorney and gather enough evidence to support their claims. Good luck with your case!
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