What to Do Following a Slip & Fall Accident
Winter storms can cause heavy snowfall, making sidewalks, parking lots, and pathways slick. With snow and ice comes an increased risk of slip and fall injuries. The CDC estimates that three million people are hospitalized each year due to falls, and one out of five falls causes severe injuries like broken bones or head trauma.
Residential and commercial property owners have a duty of care to remove snow and warn of icy conditions on their properties to prevent falls.
It is your right to seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages if you suffer injuries from a fall due to the property owner’s negligence. Slip and fall accidents on someone else’s property require you to act quickly to protect your right to a fair settlement. These steps can prove your injuries and the extent of your losses.
If you sustained injuries, you should call an ambulance or have someone else contact emergency services. Paramedics can assess your physical condition and help you get the care you need in the emergency room.
You should visit your doctor even if you don’t feel immediate pain and numbness after your fall. This is because some injuries, such as a concussion or traumatic brain injury, may not manifest until hours or days later.
The doctor can perform a physical examination and order imaging tests to determine the extent of your injuries and treatment plan. Continue to follow your doctor’s instructions and attend your follow-up appointments. These visits can serve as medical records of your expenses and evaluations to support your compensation claim.
You must notify the police of the accident. An officer will complete a report that establishes the timing of your accident and the property owner’s responsibility.
The property owner may have an accident report form you should fill out in case of a slip and fall accident at their business. This report will provide the owner with written notice of the incident.
You must include this information when you complete the form:
- Time, date, and location of the accident
- Your actions at the time of the accident, such as if you were shopping
- Site conditions that caused you to slip and fall, such as ice or snow
- Identification of the negligent party and their insurer
- Name and contact information of the property owner
You must notify your supervisor or manager if your accident occurred at work. Your employer may have you follow a procedure to report your accident, including completing a form.
Capturing the accident site with pictures and videos can help document the dangerous conditions leading to the accident. It is crucial to take wide shots of the hazard area to prove that warning signs were not present. For example, take a photo before the owner cleans the site if you fall on wet and slippery pavement due to unshoveled snow.
Ensure you take pictures of any bruises, bandages, casts, or neck braces for your injuries. Photos such as these can be helpful to show your injuries when you file a claim for damages. They also prove to the owner’s insurance company that the fall caused your injuries.
It is essential to preserve your clothes from the accident. Your clothing may show blood or stains after a fall, indicating the accident’s severity. If you slip and fall on a puddle of water or other liquid, take photos of your wet clothes since they may have absorbed the moisture.
Do not clean or wash your clothes. Place all your clothing, along with your shoes, in a Ziploc bag in a secure location. Then, if your case goes to trial, your lawyer can use the clothes as evidence.
A slip and fall accident requires an investigation to determine who was at fault. Therefore, you should avoid giving further statements to the property owner and insurer until you have spoken with your slip and fall attorney first. Your attorney should thoroughly review the case before deciding who is at fault for the accident.
Having a lawyer on your side can assist you in identifying when you should provide information to the owner and insurer. Your lawyer can prepare a legal strategy based on solid evidence supporting your compensation claim.
Our experienced lawyers at Cofman Townsley can evaluate your case to determine your right to financial recovery after your accident. We can advise you on how to proceed in your case, including negotiating with the insurance company and property owner to ensure your total compensation.
Call us today for a free consultation so we can answer your questions and discuss your legal options with you.