A slip and fall accident can be a harrowing experience. An unexpected fall can jolt your sense of security, affect your health, and limit your ability to work. Many are a result of negligence, which may result in a personal injury claim. There are actions you can take after a slip and fall accident that will strengthen your claim. The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert has put together a checklist to help you through the most important steps after an injury.
First, get immediate medical attention. While many slip and fall cases don’t result in severe injuries, they still can lead to missed work. For example, a simple ankle sprain can take several days to heal. In fact, slips and falls are the number one reason people file personal injury claims. You can’t file a claim, however, without proof that you were actually injured, which is another reason why medical attention is important. You will need a written, professional injury diagnosis.
If you are well enough, take pictures of the area while waiting for medical attention. Images can be powerful evidence in these cases, especially if it is your word against someone else’s. If you don’t have a cell phone with a camera or a camera handy, try and remember details of the incident that might have led to the fall.
Revisit the accident site, and thoroughly examine it for anything hazards you might have missed. While some slips and falls are pure accidents, many happen for a reason. You might have tripped over a broken piece of sidewalk, torn carpeting in a hotel lobby, or slightly uneven concrete or brick in a parking lot.
Be camera ready this time; if you find evidence of why you were injured, take a few photographs and tell your attorney. Return to the site as soon as possible before the property owner makes repairs or moves objects around. If you can’t get to the area yourself, send a friend or loved one to go for you. The property owner will almost certainly investigate the area as well.
Contact any witnesses to your accident. Maybe someone saw you fall and can testify there was a safety hazard, or perhaps someone helped you after the accident and could describe the conditions of the floor or lighting. The owner of the property will likely try to dispute your claim. Written or recorded witness statements can significantly strengthen your case.
Follow the necessary protocol for reporting injuries. Commercial properties, like grocery stores and other buildings, usually have two channels to file a report. For example, you may have had an accident in the store, but what if the enterprise rents its space from a building owner? In most cases, filing a claim with both the “owner” and the “occupier” is beneficial.
If you had an accident on government property, there’s a different process. Most state and federal agencies have strict standards for reporting claims, so check with an employee to see what your next steps are. For example, federal properties require you file a written claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act.
If you or a loved one has been injured on a premises, you will likely be contacted by a representative of the premises owner or its insurance company and asked to give a recorded statement. Never give a recorded statement, especially if you have not consulted with an attorney. The premises owner’s representative will imply that they have accepted responsibility and that the premises owner will pay your medical bills, all in order to get your recorded statement. The representative will appear kind, concerned and sympathetic, but imply that they will only pay medical bills if you cooperate and give a recorded statement. Don’t be fooled! This is nothing but a claim process that is set up from the start to deny your claim.
Finally, speak with an attorney like those at the Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert. We have ample trial experience in personal injury law and premises liability claims. Attorney Aaron A. Herbert is board certified in personal injury law, and fights to help slip and fall accident victims recover the costs of medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages. Our firm works with clients throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex and throughout Texas. We offer a free consultation and there is no fee or expense unless you recover. Contact us today. If you’re in the San Antonio area reach out to our San Antonio Slip and Fall lawyers.