The Aftermath of a Slip and Fall
Slips and falls can happen anywhere and at anytime. After a bad fall, people can often be in a confused state. Their minds are racing, and emotions can take control of their actions. These might seem like simple steps to take after a slip and fall, but we felt it necessary to enumerate them here so that it can be used as a guide if you’re not in the right headspace to know what to be doing.
Steps to take after a slip and fall
What you do during this time may determine whether you will qualify for an injury claim or not. If you’re really hurt, the only thing you should be thinking about is your health and safety, but if you only have minor injuries, follow this procedure to give yourself the best shot at formulating a great case.
- Seek medical help: if you’re in need of medical attention, call 911. If you can’t make the call yourself, request from someone nearby to call on your behalf. Explain to the medical professional what happened, where, and how. Don’t hesitate to go to the hospital. Getting a formal medical evaluation is often much better than a quick EMT checkup on the scene.
- Report the accident tot he owner: If possible, try to make an official report with the owner or property manager before leaving the premises. Make sure to describe every aspect of the fall. What you were doing there, what the ground looked like, how you fell, what you injured, etc.
- Don’t sign anything: After falling, many people can be in a confused state. If asked to sign some type of waiver or agreement, don’t do it! You may be relinquishing your right to file a lawsuit.
- Take photos and videos: Review the scene and take relevant pictures and videos of the surrounding area.
- Write down everything that happened: Put into writing everything that transpired as soon as possible. During this tumultuous time, we can easily forget specific details. The sooner you start a diary, the more information you’ll have for your case. Additionally, you should be documenting your daily routine after the fall. Medication, physical therapy, pain, fatigue, etc. The more details, the better.
- Find witnesses: Look for people who were around the scene who can provide their account of what happened.
- Gather and keep all evidence: This includes bloodied clothing, broken glasses, ripped pants, and the like.
1. Direct evidence
This is factual evidence of this specific incident. It can usually e obtained by eyewitnesses or video camera footage.
2. Circumstantial evidence
This type of evidence is more subtle but also significant in building your lawsuit. Circumstantial evidence includes any code violations, a history of slips and falls on the premises, and any other evidence of negligence of the owner or manager.
What not to do after a slip and fall
- Don’t make excuses: Avoid phrases like “I’m fine,” “I wasn’t paying attention”, or “my shoe has no grip.” These may invalidate the possibility of filing a lawsuit.
- Don’t take action in your hands: Remain calm and avoid getting angry. Getting physical with the owner or manager may make things a lot worse than they already are.
- Don’t sign away your rights: Don’t sign any forms, waivers, or agreements. Leave these documents to a lawyer or for when you are in a clearer state of mind.
- Don’t discuss the incident in detail with witnesses: Although you should be collecting contact information of the witnesses in the area, by discussing the case with them, you may invalidate them as witnesses in court.
- Don’t threaten to sue: Threatening the owner may lower your credibility down the line. The best plaintiffs against insurance companies are calm and confident. This builds credibility and shows that you are in the right state of mind to win the case.
It's never too late to take action
Although doing the right things at the right time is obviously ideal, it’s never too late to take action! If your slip or fall was indeed caused by the negligence of the owner or manager of the premises, you might still be able to win your case in a court of law regardless of how well you followed the above tips. Contact a personal injury lawyer who specializes in slips and falls, and they will advise you of the best next steps.
Preparing for a slip and fall lawsuit
Slip and fall are natural occurrences that can happen to anyone, in any place. If you were involved in a slip or fall, follow these tips to give yourself the best odds succeeding in your lawsuit. This includes seeking help, getting immediate medical assistance, among others. Don’t overreact as most people do. If you aren’t comfortable dealing with this case yourself, it’s probably a good idea to have a legal professional advise you with your case. They will walk you through each step of the process and ensure that you are represented appropriately.