Experiencing a slip and fall accident is a big deal. Even the most minor falls can result in serious injuries, even if you don’t recognize it at the time.
Falls account for 8 million hospital emergency room visits per year. If you or a loved one has been part of this statistic, or if you want to learn to prepare for a potential fall in the future, you need to know how to handle a slip and fall accident now.
But what’s the process for managing a slip and fall accident and getting the compensation that you deserve? We want to guide you through the steps. Keep reading to learn the step-by-step guide on what to do after you’ve experienced a serious fall.
Get Medical Care First
Before you start handling the legal matters it’s important that you get yourself checked out and cared for.
When you first fall, it may feel like nothing is wrong. Maybe you have a bruise or two, or maybe it doesn’t feel like you’re injured at all.
Unfortunately, some injuries don’t make themselves obvious until later on. If you don’t seek medical attention as early as possible you might end up noticing the injuries after you’ve missed the chance to pursue the business for damages.
Doing this doesn’t just protect your health. This is also the first step in building your case against the business in question. Having doctor’s notes, medical records, and a clear write-up of any injuries that you’ve sustained is important. These things can be used to solidify your case against the business.
This kind of documentation is used to pursue damages. Your hospital visit will be expensive, so getting paid for the injury is essential.
File an Accident Report
The next step is filing an accident report. Accident reports document the fall. They give a clear timestamp of what has happened and who was there at the time, as well as any initial steps that the business has made to rectify the situation.
This process should include only the amount of communication that is necessary for the case. You don’t want to be caught saying anything that can be used against you, and you don’t want to be talked out of leaving this situation off the record.
Document any exchange of information on paper and communicate via email so there’s a paper trail that can’t be denied later.
Gather (and Keep) Evidence
It’s important to gather evidence that can support your case. If you visit the emergency room right after the event, get someone who was with you to document everything.
Evidence can include photographs taken at the scene that relate to your fall. Was there a wet floor with no sign present? Was the floor covered in debris creating an unsafe environment? Were there chips on the floor, or was it uneven?
You want to identify any potential workplace safety hazards that will make the business liable for your injury.
If there were witnesses to the fall, talk to them and document what they saw. While witness testimony isn’t always reliable, it adds another level to your case.
Many businesses have video cameras on the premises in order to protect themselves from theft or damage. Ask the business owner for access to these videos so you can use them as documentation. If they don’t comply, talk to your lawyer so you can get them after the fact.
Many businesses will try to get rid of evidence if they know that they’re in the wrong.
Stay Quiet Online
It’s tempting to go online to complain about a business. We’ve all learned that the “squeaky wheel gets the grease,” so to speak, and this often results in getting loud online or in business reviews.
Stay off of social media and don’t talk about the incident anywhere that the lawyers of the other party can access. Anything that you say can be used against you, even if it’s a statement that seems benign.
Consult With a Personal Injury Attorney
You can choose to consult with a personal injury lawyer before you start taking these steps, but you can also do it as a final step so the case can move forward after you’ve seen a doctor and documented everything.
Hiring an attorney stops you from having to defend yourself in court. Defending yourself isn’t likely to be successful, especially if the other party has a lawyer (and most businesses will invest in a lawyer for exactly this kind of situation).
When you first consult with your attorney, they’ll tell you whether or not they think that you have a viable case. Not all injuries can be legally put on the business, and your lawyer doesn’t want to waste your time or theirs with a case that has no chance of moving forward.
Your personal injury attorney will advocate for you while you navigate the difficult and often stressful legal process, as well as help you fight any problems with insurance.
They’ll take over any and all communication with the other party, including their attorneys and insurance companies that cover them.
In other words, having a good personal injury lawyer on your side makes everything a lot easier.
Have You Experienced a Slip and Fall Accident?
Experiencing a slip and fall accident is stressful, and you don’t need the added stress of trying to work through a complicated legal situation on your own. An experienced personal injury attorney can guide you through the entire process to ensure that you get compensation.
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