Despite how cautious you are, chances are that at some point, you will encounter a ‘slip and fall’ accident. This type of accident can happen either indoors or out, in dry conditions or wet, in a private location or in a public setting.
A slip and fall accident can be caused by a variety of things; uneven ground, wet surfaces, ice, snow, poor lighting, or other peril.
Case and statutory laws suggest that industrial and business structures along with residential properties must maintain reasonable maintenance protocols related to walkways, parking garages, and other known dangers, to ensure such areas can be securely traversed with minimal concern. This is referred to as a duty. In premises liability cases, there is an implied duty to protect visitors from known dangers on the premises. What’s more, that duty can extend to physicalities on the premises that a reasonable person would consider hazardous that are open and obvious but unknown to the landowner.
If injured in a slip and fall accident, the landowner may be liable to you for damages. Damages are injuries suffered, medical bills and treatment, personal property damaged as a result of the fall, and in some cases, lost wages for the time spent away from work tending to the treatment of your injuries.
In the event that you or somebody you know has been injured in a slip and fall accident, it is imperative to recall and document everything that occurred immediately. While the accident is still fresh in your mind, it is important to write down the location and time of the accident, those who can potentially be in control of or responsible for incidents that occur on the property, and any witnesses who can verify where and how the incident occurred.
Creating a detailed record of the incident that is prepared contemporaneous to the accident is critical to the overall success of your claim.
The following are four steps to take after a slip and fall incident:
- Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Your well-being and that of your friends and family is the first course of action in a slip and fall incident. Medical reports at the onset of your injury will provide transparency to your claim. Legitimizing your injuries with organized reporting will help your claim succeed.
- Make a Proper Report to the Property Owner
Report the incident. Regardless of where the incident occurred, ensure that you report it to a manager, proprietor, or landowner. Be certain to convey your concerns in a clear and professional manner and request that a report is generated along with appropriate contact information for all who are potentially involved. Before you leave the scene of the incident, request a copy of the report, or in the alternative, in a manner where a copy can be transmitted to you upon completion.
- Document as Much as You Can
As mentioned previously, it is important to gather the names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses of potential witnesses. If at all possible, take photographs of the area where you fell. Pay close attention to steps, stairs, cold or wet patches, and heavy cracks that may have contributed to your fall. Write down what you were doing before the incident, the way in which you fell, and how you landed. Additionally, take photographs of the shoes and attire you were wearing on the day of the incident and, if possible, keep them in a protected location. They may be helpful throughout the investigation.
- Call and Invite an Attorney
When considering the next steps, the best practice is to reach out to an experienced lawyer. Since many slip and fall cases are unpredictable and difficult to navigate, you are best served with the assistance of a lawyer. A lawyer will better understand how to communicate with insurance companies, businesses and landowners, and provide you with a realistic roadmap about how your case will develop.
Do not get stuck paying medical bills from a slip and fall incident caused by somebody else’s negligence. Look for experienced and accomplished legal professionals who understand the severity of the case