Last Update: 5/19/17
No one expects to be hurt as they go about their busy day. Slip and fall accidents are always unexpected: you – or your wife, your mother, your sister or your son – are leaving the restaurant, shopping at the mall, or just walking through the office parking lot, and suddenly a fall, and an injury.
What should you do if you’re hurt in a slip and fall accident?
1. The first thing, of course, is to get medical attention. Some slip and fall injuries may seem minor but these minor injuries can be deceptive. It’s very important in any fall injury to have a medical professional check things out to make sure more serious injuries are discovered and treated (like a torn ligament in your hand, shoulder, ankle or foot).
2. After medical treatment, the second thing is to consider where you were when the accident happened. Slip and fall accidents are common in locations like:
- Grocery store
- Stores or mall areas
- Condominium common areas (including pool areas)
- Parking Lots
You will need to know who the responsible parties are for the location of the accident. Who owns the property? Who manages it? Who is responsible for its care and upkeep? When was the last time the floors were cleaned and/or check for substances on the floor?
Take notice of signs and notices in the location of your fall. Was there a wet floor sign? You may have to investigate these ownership and management issues later through the legal discovery process. Sometimes, determining all of the responsible parties for a particular location can be a difficult task.
3. Before you leave the scene, look for people who saw what happened. Approach them and ask for their help as possible witnesses for your accident. Ask them to write down things like:
- their name
- heir phone number
- their e-mail
- their mailing address.
4. Before you leave the scene, call the police. You may need the officer’s written police report to substantiate your injury claim and your claims for economic damages (like lost wages) as well as general damages (like pain and suffering).
This is different from reporting the accident to the manager of the establishment. You should report what happened to the restaurant manager, grocery store manager, etc., and they should have accident reporting procedures in place to deal with documenting what has happened. However, this will be biased toward the establishment itself (geared toward a defense perspective).
Having a police report is different from this internal reporting by the premises owner. Get the police report for your claim — even if (especially if) the manager says it’s not necessary.
5. Before you leave the scene, take photos of the scene. Videos are good, too (if the property has video surveillance, tell the manager to preserve the video and to not tape over the day of the accident). Make sure to include the area of the fall as well as its surroundings and try to capture faces of the witnesses as well as how you got there (your path to the scene of the accident). Include things like:
- Substances like grease on the restaurant floor
- Water or ice on a condominium common area
- Fruit or vegetables laying on the grocery aisles
- Trash, cracks, curbs, or concrete barriers in a parking lot.
What Should You Do?
A good piece of advice if you have been harmed by a slip and fall, is to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer before you file a claim to learn about some of the issues that can arise with these claims, including the type of evidence needed to prove a claim and the type and amount of damages you can recover. Most personal injury lawyers, like Alan Sackrin, will offer a free initial consultation (over the phone or in person) to answer your questions.
Do you have questions or comments? Then please feel free to send Alan an email or call him now at (954) 458-8655.