Slipping and falling are some of the most common types of injuries people experience, especially in public places. Slips and falls can cause serious injury, even though you might not feel the effects until days later. If you’re involved in a slip and fall accident while you’re running errands, shopping, or visiting a business, here’s what you need to do.
Seek Medical Treatment
The first step is always to make sure you’re physically okay. If a fall is severe enough, 911 may need to be contacted. Follow medical advice, and get the treatment you need. You may need to have tests run to check for head or internal injuries. If the fall doesn’t require emergency services, make sure you go to a doctor within 48 hours to be examined. Even when you think you’re fine, problems can arise later.
You may have a friend or family member with you who can act as a witness to what happened. Ask if they’d be willing to give a statement. Have them write down or record what happened while the memory is fresh. If strangers witnessed the accident, ask them if they’d be witnesses for you. If so, make sure to get their contact information so you can follow up with them later.
Report the Accident
Find out who’s in charge of the business where you fell. Ask about their procedures for reporting an accident. Some businesses have a very strict policy to follow, but not everyone does. If you’re able to file an official accident report before you leave, ask for a copy for your records.
When a business has no policy or procedure, ask for the contact information — email or mailing address — of the business. When you get home, write a detailed description of what happened and any injuries or damages you suffered and send it to them. It’s important that this be in writing. Make sure to keep a copy for yourself.
Take Photos or Video
Use your phone to take photos or video of the area where you fell. This will document any injuries and the state of the floor or area that caused you to fall. Having this documentation preserves the details of what happened in the moment. Everything will be cleaned up later, and it could be your word against the business.
Write Down Your Experience
You can also video or audio record yourself if writing is difficult. The point is to make your own clear statement of what happened from your perspective. The sooner you can do this after an accident, the better. You want the memory and the details to be fresh. Over time, things can get a little muddy or confused, and you might not remember exactly what happened.
Create a File
Make a file on your computer or start a paper file to keep all of your documentation. This includes medical reports, the accident report, notices you receive in the mail, contact information, witness statements, medical expenses, and more. Anything and everything related to your slip and fall accident should be stored together so you can refer back to it whenever you need it.
Be Cautious with the Insurance Company
When you slip and fall in a business, their liability insurance should cover your costs, but insurance companies want to pay as little as possible. Don’t make promises over the phone, and ask to see everything in writing before you agree to anything. You’re not required to take the first settlement they offer. It may not be enough to cover future medical expenses or the cost of your lost wages or suffering.
Call a Personal Injury Attorney
If the business won’t take responsibility for your slip and fall or the insurance company refuses to pay what you’re owed, contact a personal injury lawyer. This isn’t something you have to deal with alone, and you may have a very good claim against the business. Bring in your documentation and share your story. The right attorney will be able to get you the compensation you deserve.
It is a business’s responsibility to keep their premises safe for people. When someone slips and falls, it’s also their responsibility to take care of the damages and injuries. Not every business will do what’s right. When you’re hurt after a slip and fall accident, you need a personal injury attorney who will fight for you. Contact Ed Bernstein and Associates today so you don’t have to fight the insurance company alone.