What Should You Do if You Have Been Injured in a Slip and Fall Accident?
Falls are one of the leading causes of preventable injuries in the U.S. According to recent statistics, falls accounted for almost a third of all non-fatal preventable injuries in 2020, and more than 6.8 million people were seen in ERs across the country for fall-related injuries.
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident, it is important that you take the necessary steps to protect yourself in the short- and long-term. A slip and fall accident can carry physical, emotional, financial, and legal risks for you and your loved ones. In many slip and fall cases, a property owner, business, or employer may be legally responsible and financially liable for your fall. These entities often carry insurance for such accidents. An injured victim often has to deal with insurance companies, doctors, their employer, and others, all while trying to heal. An attorney can lift some of this burden, provide reliable information about your rights, negotiate with other parties and insurers, and ensure that you are compensated for the losses and harm that you suffer after a fall.
When you have a slip and fall accident, these should be your first steps:
SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION
The most important thing to do when you have a slip and fall accident is to tend to your injuries. It is crucial to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Not only will this ensure that you receive the treatment that you need, but it will also create a medical report that can be used in a legal case or claim for insurance or workers’ comp.
Even if an injury seems minor, it is advisable to see your healthcare provider promptly. Injuries can often become worse over time, and if you wait too long to see your doctor, it may be more difficult to treat your injuries or to prove that they were caused by the fall. Seek medical attention right away, and keep a copy of all of your medical records and documentation.
REPORT THE ACCIDENT
A slip and fall accident should always be reported to the appropriate person, which is usually the property owner or manager where the fall happens, a business manager, or your work supervisor if the accident happened at work. Reporting your fall ensures that it is documented and that any evidence about the fall and the property conditions are preserved. Over time, memories can fade and details become unclear, therefore, a prompt report is necessary. An accident report provides a permanent record of what happened and will be helpful if there is an investigation or insurance claim. Be sure to include all the relevant details, such as the time, location, and nature of the accident, information about any hazardous conditions, as well as the names and contact details of any witnesses. Keep a copy of the accident report and any other documentation for your own records.
Evidence is the foundation of any legal or insurance claim following an accident. If you have had a slip and fall, you should gather evidence at the scene of the accident, if possible. This includes pictures or videos of the scene, contacting details of any witnesses, and gathering information about who was in charge of the property at the time of the accident. Witnesses can provide valuable information about what happened, and photos and videos show the conditions at the time of the accident, all of which can affect how much compensation you may be entitled to. Some of this information may be requested in the accident report but some of it may be outside the scope of the report form and should be gathered by you. It is important to get this evidence as soon as possible after the accident because it may be more difficult to obtain later, whether because conditions have changed, memories have become less clear, or people are less willing to become involved. Your attorney will continue to gather relevant information to support your claim as it progresses but the primary evidence that you gather at the scene can be crucial.
CONSULT AN ATTORNEY
In the immediate aftermath of a fall, there are many questions: What if I cannot work? How do I pay my medical bills? Should I talk to the insurance company? Who is on my side? Why are there so many forms?
An experienced personal injury attorney can help you with these questions. They will be able to evaluate your case and advise you on your legal rights and obligations. You may be entitled to compensation to help cover your medical bills and lost wages (both past and future), and to compensate you for your physical and emotional suffering. The amount of compensation will depend on the severity of your injuries and the circumstances of your case. An attorney can help understand and present your case, and negotiate with other parties and insurance companies, to maximize the compensation that you get.
You should be able to talk to an attorney without any obligation or commitment to pursue a claim. Most personal injury attorneys, like the attorneys at Cohen Feeley Altemose & Rambo, will not charge you anything for your first consultation, and, if you choose to bring a claim, many will only charge you fees for their services when you win or settle. If you are unclear about an attorney’s fee policy, ask them. Any reputable attorney will be happy to explain their policies so that you can find an attorney that is the right fit for you.
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, it is important to take the necessary steps to protect your health and legal rights. Seek medical attention if necessary, report the accident to your supervisor or property manager, gather evidence, and consult with an attorney. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Cohen Feeley Altemose & Rambo are here to help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation.