The moments after a slip and fall can be stressful. People gather around you, try to help you up, and give their opinion on what happened or what you should do next.
Your adrenaline is pumping, and it’s easy to get caught up in the moment. You might feel fine right after the slip and fall, but develop pain and stiffness in another day or two.
If you suffer from a slip and fall accident, there are things that you need to do immediately (or as soon as possible after the accident).
No matter how minor or severe your slip and fall was, try to follow all these steps. It not only helps your health and recovery, but can also assist you in a potential lawsuit.
Even if you don't immediately feel like you've suffered an injury in the slip and fall, it is important to make an appointment with your doctor or go to a walk-in clinic as soon as possible.
Your health is the most important thing, and it is easy for slip and fall injuries to go undiagnosed.
Your doctor can evaluate and identify injuries even if you don't feel sick from them yet. The sooner you realize you're injured, the quicker you can get on the road to recovery.
In addition, seeking medical treatment immediately after your slip and fall also helps your potential legal claim.
Your claim might appear more legitimate to an insurance company if you go to your doctor immediately after the slip and fall rather than waiting to seek treatment. That being said, it’s better to go to the doctor weeks or even months after the fact than risk the chance of a severe or ongoing medical issue by not going at all.
One of the most important items to do after a slip and fall is collect the information from any and all witnesses. You're looking for somebody who saw you fall and saw the condition of the surface you fell on.
Ask for their name and phone number or e-mail address. Make sure you make a note in your contacts list to remind you who they are and that they’re a witness to your accident.
If you end up filing a lawsuit related to the slip and fall, your lawyer will likely speak with the witness and have them provide a witness statement.
Rough, slippery, or uneven surfaces make a slip and fall more likely. The property owner may have a different story than you about the condition of the surface you fell on.
Having a witness statement that confirms your story strengthens your case and makes it difficult for the property owner or insurance company to argue that the surface was in good condition.
Lawsuits often take a long time to settle, so you may want to ask the witnesses to write down or record their perspective of the accident as soon as they can, so they don't misremember any of the events when your lawyer asks for a statement.
Collecting photo evidence may be the furthest thing from your mind after you suffer a slip and fall, but it is extremely important.
Photo evidence is hard to refute, and having photos will likely help you in a lawsuit. The more evidence you have to prove you're telling the truth, the better.
Some important items to take photos of before leaving the scene of the slip and fall are:
You may also want to take a short video of the scene including the surrounding area. This will help your lawyer get a sense of what the entire location looked like compared to the spot you fell.
If you start to bruise a day or two after the accident, take photos of that as well.
The time and date the photo was taken will be stored in your phone, but many people find it easier to keep a written journal with a description of the photos as well.
If you fall in a store, the manager will likely ask you to complete an internal incident report, but you should file a report with the police as well.
This is one of the most important actions to take after a slip and fall because it creates an official record of the incident.
Having an official report of the slip and fall will help your legal case and legitimize your side of the story even more.
If one of the witnesses is someone you know, have them complete a witness statement to go along with the police report.
One of the biggest mistakes people who suffer a slip and fall make is giving statements and signing waivers immediately after the accident without consulting a lawyer.
You can complete the police report without a lawyer, but you shouldn't make any statements to the property owner unless a lawyer is present.
You should never sign a waiver without your lawyer present either.
Lawyers are trained to protect their clients’ best interests. They'll read the waivers and make sure you're not signing away your legal right to bring forward a claim.
The lawyers at Injury.com can tell you whether or not you should bring a claim in just three minutes. If you have a claim, they'll guide you through the process and make sure everything you say and sign will help your case.
Every year millions of Americans injure themselves in preventable slip and fall accidents.
It’s imperative to know the steps to take after a slip and fall. Following the suggestions in this article will not only help you get treatment for your injuries, but they'll help you if you choose to bring forward a legal case.
Even if bringing a lawsuit is the furthest thing from your mind right after a slip and fall, it's important to take the necessary steps to protect yourself in case your injuries are serious enough that you deserve financial compensation for them.