What to Do After a Slip and Fall Accident
Nobody plans to injure themselves in a slip and fall accident, but they’re actually quite common. In fact, slip and falls account for over one million emergency room visits every year.
Depending on the severity of the fall, you could end up with long-term injuries that put a heavy financial strain on you and your family. Your injuries could even keep you out of work.
When an accident like this occurs on private property and negligence played a part, you’re entitled to compensation under the law. However, you need to take the proper steps directly following the fall. Doing so will ensure you can pursue a legal claim.
Let’s go over some important steps to take in event of a slip and fall.
Get Medical Treatment Immediately
Your well-being is the most important factor after an injury. It’s crucial you seek medical treatment right away.
If you’ve sustained head, back, or neck trauma, you may need emergency medical assistance. If an ambulance isn’t called, have a friend or family member take you to the emergency room immediately.
Even if your injuries seem minor, it’s important you see a doctor soon after the incident. Some injuries don’t fully manifest themselves for days or even weeks after the initial trauma.
Seeking medical treatment ensures you don’t sustain further injury. It’s also important if you decide to file a claim. Your attorney will use your medical condition to determine an appropriate settlement.
Make sure you keep all medical documents and adhere to any follow-up treatments recommended by your doctor.
Determine the Cause of the Accident
If you don’t need emergency medical assistance, you need to determine what caused the fall. If the cause of the accident involved negligent conditions on the property, you deserve compensation.
Look for cracks on the floor, water, ice, or any other dangerous conditions. If you feel the property owner could’ve taken measures to prevent these conditions, there’s a good chance you have a legal case. Even things like poor lighting or missing handrails can lead to slip and fall accidents, so make sure you take note of anything strange.
Property owners have an obligation to keep their parking lots safe as well. If you fell as a result of a pothole or uneven concrete, you still have a right to pursue compensation.
Document the Scene
After you’ve determined the cause of the fall, you’ll need to document the area as much as possible. Using your phone to take pictures is the best way.
Take photos of the area where you fell and any dangerous conditions. Even if the photos don’t look like much, they’ll help an attorney get a good idea of how the injury occurred.
You should also write down an account of what took place. Your memory of the event will start to fade quickly, which is why you need to write down little details right away.
If you don’t have documentation, the cause of the injury may come down to your word against the property owner. Avoid this by documenting as much as you can.
Talk to Witnesses
In addition to documenting the scene, you need to talk to witnesses of your fall. Get their contact information so your attorney can speak with them if you decide to file a claim.
Getting a witness testimony is important if the property owner tries to dispute your claim. They can back up the events and confirm the fall caused your injuries.
If nobody witnessed the actual fall, but people came to your aid, you should still get their contact information. Their account may still help during a legal case.
Report the Accident
If your injury occurred in a store, warehouse, or other privately owned business, you need to make them aware of the accident. You may need to fill out an accident report while still on the premises.
While it’s important you notify the business, don’t try to resolve the issue then and there. Simply report the fall and include all pertinent details.
You should also write down the name of the person you talked too at the scene. If they make any type of comment that leads you to believe this has happened before, make a note for yourself. This could prove useful in obtaining a settlement.
Remain Quiet About the Incident
After your fall, there’s a chance the property owner, their insurance company, or their attorney may contact you. It’s important you don’t talk to them about the incident. You don’t want to inadvertently say something that could hurt your case.
Insurance companies want to pay as little as they possibly can when an incident occurs. They may try to get you to settle for an amount far less than you deserve. This is why you should avoid talking to them altogether.
If you’re contacted, politely decline to discuss the matter. You’re not legally obligated to say anything, so don’t let insurance companies or attorneys pressure you.
Contact a Qualified Attorney
If you feel legal action is necessary, you’ll need to hire an attorney who specializes in premises liability cases. Make sure they have a good track record handling slip and fall accidents.
An attorney will evaluate the details of your fall and let you know what your best approach should be. They’ll also be able to give you a ballpark estimate of how much compensation you should pursue.
Seeking the help of an attorney will also protect you from getting pressured by an insurance company. In fact, once they know you’ve hired an attorney, there’s a good chance they’ll back off.
Your attorney will either negotiate a fair settlement or take your case to court and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Protect Your Rights After a Slip and Fall Accident
A serious injury can have a long-term effect on you and your family’s future. Don’t let the negligence of a property owner result in lost wages and pain and suffering.
Take these steps directly after a slip and fall accident to ensure your rights aren’t violated. Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP provides fierce legal representation to victims of slip and falls in Birmingham and the surrounding areas. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.