What to Do after a Slip & Fall Accident

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, slip and fall accidents caused 26 percent of reported workplace injuries. These accidents are among the top three causes of preventable injury-related deaths; falls, poisoning, and motor vehicle accidents account for 83 percent of avoidable deaths. 

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. Insurance companies frequently do not take the fall or resulting injuries seriously, and they spend significant resources disputing fault. If you attempted to handle your case independently, chances are you will not receive a settlement large enough to cover all of your medical bills. That is why hiring experienced trip and fall attorneys after you've been hurt is so important.

If you sustain injuries in a slip and fall accident, following these steps will ensure you have the documentation, records, and care in the event you need to file a personal injury lawsuit:

Steps to Take After a Slip & Fall Accident in New York City

Seek medical attention. Slip and fall injuries can be severe, and your health, or the health of your family member who fell, takes priority. Visit the nearest emergency room for an examination and x-rays. The visit helps you start medical treatment and produces medical records that may later prove critical to your claim. 

Report the accident. Depending on where you fell, report the accident to someone in charge. This individual may be a manager if you tripped and fell at a fast-food restaurant or store. If you tripped over loose or uneven stairs at your apartment building, report it to your landlord. If you had a sidewalk accident, contact the city. For parking lot accidents, the lot belongs to the business, and you need to report the accident to the owner. For accidents at another person’s home, report it to the homeowner. Find whoever has control of the property and let them know there was an accident. Ask them to make an accident report and give you a copy when they finish it. 

Document the accident. Start by taking pictures of the accident scene. Make sure you catch any dangerous conditions, including uneven floors, tree roots, icy spots, unrepaired stairs, or any obstacle that caused you to trip. Find witnesses and get their contact information, including names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. Even the clothes and shoes you wore at the time of the accident could become evidence. Keep them somewhere safe.  

DO NOT speak to insurance adjusters. The business’ or landlord’s insurance company may reach out to take a recorded statement from you. 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. 

Do not share or post anything 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! 

Call our firm. If you experience a slip and fall, reach out to Raphaelson & Levine to help. We frequently handle these cases and know the challenges involved. Our efforts often bring in more significant settlements for clients than if they pursued the matter alone. 

Types of Injuries Caused by a Slip and 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 insists. That is why you need solid legal representation in your corner when you sustain slip and fall injuries. 

Hiring a Lawyer after a Slip & Fall Injury In New York City

If you've suffered injuries in a slip, trip, or fall accident, a personal injury attorney can help preserve your rights and increase your likelihood of receiving fair compensation. 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 our law firm online or call 212-268-3222 today for a free consultation. 

Howard Raphaelson
Howard A. Raphaelson founded Raphaelson & Levine Law Firm, P.C. in 1992 after graduating from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. Established in New York, NY, his personal injury law firm has obtained numerous million-dollar verdicts. With over twenty-five years of experience as a personal injury attorney, he has earned a trusted reputation from his peers, judges, and top leaders, including recognition among the top 5% injury attorneys as a “Super Lawyer” (Thomson Reuters) and “New York’s Best Lawyers” (New York Magazine).
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