According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, slip and fall accidents caused 26 percent of reported workplace injuries, and are among the top three causes of preventable injury-related deaths.
Most slip & fall lawyers nearby would agree, no one leaves their 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 may feel uncertain about who is at fault and what to do next. Despite the commonality of premises liability and slip and fall accidents, recovering compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering can be challenging to navigate.
If you intend to file a personal injury lawsuit against the party responsible for your injuries, it is essential follow the 10 steps outlined below to ensure you have the documentation, records, and care you need for a successful claim.
10 Steps to take after a slip & fall accident in New York City
If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident in New York City, there are certain steps you should take to ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Here’s what you need to do:
1. Seek immediate medical attention after a fall
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.
2. Try to determine what caused you to fall
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.
3. Take pictures if possible
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.
4. Get contact information from any witnesses
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.
5. Get contact information from any people who assist you
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.
6. File an official injury report
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.
7. Request business owners to retain security footage of the accident
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.
8. After a slip & fall create a written record
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.
9. Don't give an immediate statement to the property owner or insurance adjusters
The business’ or landlord’s insurance company may reach out to take a recorded statement from you.
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.
Do not voluntarily talk to them. You risk taking blame or will give words to twist. Talk to a personal injury attorney before you provide any statements or speak to the property owner or landlord about the accident.
Lastly, keep in mind that you could damage your case if you discuss it on social media. Cases discussed on social media wave attorney-client privilege and ruined your chances of a fair settlement. Do not make share details of your accident on social media ever!
10. Call a slip & fall lawyer at Raphaelson & Levine
There are many reasons to hire a lawyer after you've been injured in a slip and fall accident. If you have any questions about your legal rights or options or New York slip and fall laws, a lawyer can answer them and help you make the best decisions for your unique situation.
First, if you've been seriously injured, a lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Second, even if your injuries are not serious, a lawyer can still help you negotiate with the property owner or their insurance company to get a fair settlement.
Third, if the property owner is at fault for your accident, a slip and fall lawyer can help you hold them accountable and possibly help prevent future accidents from happening.
At Raphaelson & Levine, our experienced team of personal injury attorneys handle all paperwork, monitors deadlines, and provide 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.
Types of injuries caused by a slip & fall
Injuries from slip and fall accidents may be serious, especially if the victim is elderly. Common injuries from these accidents include:
- Broken bones: Blunt force trauma and overextending limbs may result in fractures. This risk is incredibly high for older people; 95 percent of hip fractures result from falls.
- Sprained ankles or wrists: Ankles and wrists are especially vulnerable in falls. You may sprain or twist your wrists from trying to catch yourself when you realize you are falling. Ankles turn from taking an uneven step and falling.
- Knee damage: There are two ways to sustain knee damage. One is blunt force trauma if you fall and hit your knee first. The result is painful and may even include a broken knee cap. You can also twist your knee when you slip and tear ligaments, dislocate your patella, and injure your ACL or MCL.
- Shoulder and neck injuries: You can injure your shoulders or neck by trying to catch yourself as you fall or by landing on them. Neck injuries involve muscle sprains but can also include spinal injuries. Shoulder injuries include dislocation, torn nerves, of a fractured collar bone. Even minor neck and shoulder injuries can require surgery to relieve pain.
- Back injuries: A slip and fall accident quickly strains and sprains backs. However, you can also sustain herniated discs, fractured vertebrae, or slipped discs. In severe falls, you can even sustain spinal cord injuries that result in paralysis (permanent or temporary) and sensory or neurological impairments.
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI): If you hit your head on the ground or another object, you may sustain a TBI. Traumatic brain injuries include concussions, skull fractures, hematomas, and subarachnoid hemorrhages. These injuries are severely disruptive to quality of life because they may cause reduced brain function, seizures, and loss of physical control.
- Cuts and bruises: These are usually minor injuries after a slip and fall, even if they require stitches. Scrapes, bruises, and cuts are common and typically accompany more serious injuries.
Many of these injuries are not a mere failure to pay attention. While icy sidewalks and slippery floors are frequent hazards, there are less well-known causes too. Examples of slip and fall accidents include:
- Uneven flooring: The Consumer Product Safety Commission determined floors and flooring materials cause more than 2 million fall injuries each year.
- Spills and puddles: If someone drops a soda or tracks water into the building, that liquid is a fall hazard. Businesses either need to clean up the mess or prop up signs to warn patrons.
- Unsalted ice: Winter is dangerous for falls due to ice. If landlords and business managers fail to salt icy spots, they risk slip and fall liability.
- Elevator accidents: Elevator malfunctions cause accidents. Someone may trip and fall if an elevator does not stop even with the floor. People also fell into elevator shafts when doors open, and an elevator does not arrive. Sudden drops can also cause people to lose their balance and trip.
- Tree roots in walkways: Trees may grow from a garden area and into a walkway, creating a tripping hazard.
- Grease spills: Slipping and falling on grease spills in a commercial kitchen is a common industrial accident.
- Workplaces: Failure to address hazards, follow safety protocol, or keep premises in good repair may lead to workers’ compensation and personal injury cases.
A slip and fall can happen anywhere and under unpredictable circumstances. The only thing they have in common is that they are usually not the accident victims’ fault —despite what an insurance adjuster may insist.
Hiring a Lawyer after a Slip & Fall Injury In New York City
If you've suffered injuries in a slip, trip, or fall accident there are many reasons to hire a personal injury attorney if you have been injured in a slip and fall accident in New York City.
First, it is important to have someone on your side who understands the law and can fight for your rights.
Second, an experienced attorney will know how to negotiate with insurance companies and get you the compensation you deserve.
Finally, if your case goes to trial, you will want an experienced attorney by your side to help you win your case.
Raphaelson & Levine Law Firm has recovered over $700 Million in verdicts and settlements, including million-dollar slip and fall case results.
Our attorneys are available for a free consultation via Zoom, phone, or in-person at our law office located across from Penn Station in Midtown-Manhattan.
Contact us online or call 212-268-3222 today for a free consultation.