What to Do After a Slip and Fall
Contrary to some popular perception, a slip and fall accident can hurt more than just your pride. Slip and falls are a leading cause of injuries, sometimes resulting in death or serious harm. Whether you are inside a store, office or apartment, or on government property, a slip and fall accident can result in sky-high medical bills and weeks or months of grueling pain and recuperation. You may be able to seek compensation if your accident was caused by a dangerous condition.
Some steps to speed recovery and help build your case for compensation after a slip and fall:
- Get immediate medical help. If possible, get the name and contact information from anyone that may have witnessed your fall, or the condition that caused your fall, especially someone not a friend or family member. While this advice may seem unnecessary, sometimes symptoms of injury from an accident do not appear right away. Other times, victims bear the pain for pride’s sake. Don’t be a hero. Delayed treatment can aggravate your injuries and hurt your case. The insurance company may argue that some subsequent event caused your injury — or that your irresponsible delay in treatment accounts for your hurt.
- Create a detailed report — right away. You must establish your accident happened the way you remember it. The report should include dates and times, witness statements, including employer or owner and information, and details about the location and how you fell. Over time, memories fade or vary. Your timely preservation of the accident details can prevent a defendant from denying your injury happened. While management is often on guard not to admit fault, sometimes they do, explicitly or implicitly. For legal evidence purposes, their admission of fault may be more useful for you than even your own version of events.
- Determine the accident-causing condition. For a viable claim, it essential to identify the injury- causing condition. Some simple tools for doing this include time and date-stamped photos and rulers which provide scale of the locations, particularly where gaps and uneven surfaces abound. A photo can jog the memory about an obscure but important detail. These simple techniques preserve evidence that might otherwise be lost in naturally changing scenes — like construction sites — or stores where the owner might remove or clean up evidence, like spilled liquid in a grocery store.
- Get an experienced slip and fall attorney. A good personal injury firm will have the resources and knowledge needed to conduct comprehensive onsite inspections, obtain proof of prior complaints at the scene and find the right expert for your case. If the injury occurred on an uneven surface, the attorney might use a structural engineer to prove safety violations. A good lawyer can identify all potential defendants like owners, employers, service providers and their parent companies. Remember: time is of the essence. Filing deadlines need to be met, or you may forfeit compensation.
If you have been injured by a slip and fall accident in California, contact a qualified legal representative today. It’s important you hire an attorney who is compassionate to clients and resolute towards insurance companies.