No one leaves his or her home in the morning expecting to have a slip and fall accident. When an accident does occur, it may leave you feeling confused and upset. You feel uncertain about who is at fault and what to do next. If you intend to file a personal injury lawsuit against the party responsible for your injuries, it is essential to complete each of the steps outlined below.
This is one of the most important things you can do after a slip and fall accident. One reason is that injuries are not always obvious and a doctor can help determine specific problems and recommend treatment for them. Visiting a doctor right away also helps to establish credibility in your case. If you delay seeking treatment, the defense will likely try to claim that your injuries are from another cause other than your slip and fall accident.
While you may be in shock and pain from falling, we encourage you to look around as much as possible. This allows you to determine what caused you to fall. For example, did you slip on a wet floor at a store because no one posted a sign? Perhaps you fell down the stairs when visiting a friend who lives in an apartment complex. After surveying the scene, you realize that the carpet at the top of the stairs was not secured correctly. Knowing the cause makes it easier to figure out if you are the victim of someone else’s negligence.
Have you heard the expression that a picture is worth 1,000 words? It is especially true to help prove liability in a slip and fall accident. If you have a smartphone with a camera application, that is good enough. Take as many pictures of the scene as possible, including what you think may have caused your fall. Be sure to take photos of your injuries as well. Bruising, broken bones, cuts, and other common injuries heal quickly. The ability to present the jury with visual proof can result in a larger settlement than if you just told them about your injuries.
You and the property owner will remember the accident in different ways. That is understandable considering you both have a vested interest in the case. Witnesses are neutral third parties who have no stake in the outcome of your personal injury lawsuit. Their word is often as valuable as photographs. Be sure to ask for the name, physical address, email address, and telephone number if you can. Your attorney from Raphaelson & Levine will contact each witness to get an official statement about how he or she thinks the accident occurred.
If the business owner does not prompt you to complete an injury report, ask to do this yourself. You will want to be as detailed as possible about how the accident happened and the injuries you have because of it. However, you should never include inaccurate information to make your injuries appear more serious. Filing an accident report with the owner of the property where you fell adds credibility to your case because it shows that you took it seriously from the start.
You would think that you would remember every detail of a slip and fall accident, especially if it caused physical or emotional trauma. While this may be true for some people, memories fade quickly for others. Writing down as much detail as you can remember immediately after the accident is the best way to ensure that you can describe the situation to a jury later. No detail is insignificant. That means you should write down everything from the weather that day to the type and severity of your injuries.
We recommend that you do not give any verbal statement to the property owner or anyone who witnessed the accident. The written report you completed provides enough information for now. It is essential to stay calm and not blame anyone for your trip and fall accident while you are still on the scene. You should also not respond to any statements that suggest your own negligence caused the accident.
If the property owner’s insurance agent calls to take a statement from you, politely decline until you have spoken to a personal injury attorney. Lastly, keep in mind that you could damage your case if you discuss it on social media.
Retail stores and other businesses that serve the public typically have a security camera running 24 hours a day. If you have a slip and fall accident on public property, you are within your rights to ask management to preserve footage of your accident. The business will most likely throw the tape away or record over it unless you request this.
If an employee asks if you are okay or attempts to help you up, be sure to ask for his or her name and contact information. You might want to ask for a store manager if applicable and get that person’s contact information too. Remember that anyone who witnessed the accident is a potential witness in your case and to request contact information from as many people as possible.
We invite you to contact our New York law office at 212-268-3222 to request a free review of your slip and fall case. An attorney handles all paperwork, monitors deadlines, and provides you with frequent updates prior to your case settlement. You should not have to pay medical expenses and miss time from work due to someone else’s negligence. Raphaelson & Levine will use every resource we have to pursue financial compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.