What to Do After a Slip & Fall
Slip and fall accidents are a leading cause of injury in the United States. While some slips and falls are unavoidable, many are preventable if not for negligence – including the negligence of property owners who fail to ensure their premises are free from potential hazards.
Under premises liability laws, property owners have a legal duty to address and remedy potential hazards that put guests and visitors at risk of suffering harm while on their property. When premises owners fail to uphold this legal duty and victims suffer injuries as a result of their negligence, property owners can be held liable for the damages victims suffer.
If you or someone you love has recently been harmed in a slip and fall accident while on another’s property, there are several things you can do to protect your health and any future personal injury claim you may choose to file. These include:
- Seek timely medical treatment – After any accident and injury, your health should always be your top priority. Whether you received emergency treatment at the scene, were taken to a hospital or urgent care, or were able to make it home, you will want to seek timely medical treatment or follow-up with your doctor. Even if you don’t believe your injuries are serious, or think that you can tough them out, a medical evaluation will ensure any serious issues you were not aware of are immediately identified and that you can begin an appropriate treatment plan. In addition to protecting your health, timely medical attention can be important to your personal injury claim, if you choose to file one. Often, insurance companies and corporations that defend against claims are quick to point out when plaintiffs delay in seeing a doctor and will argue that it means they were not really injured, even if a victim was in pain all along.
- Report the accident – Regardless of where the slip and fall accident occurred, you will want to take steps to report it to the appropriate party. This may include a store or park manager, business owner, property manager, or landlord. You should ask managers or owners to make a written report that contains details about the incident, your statements, witness reports, contact information, and any other relevant information, and request a copy of that report for your own records.
- Gather documentation – Gathering documentation about what occurred during the accident and what happened after will be essential if you wish to pursue a personal injury claim due to the property owner’s negligence. This means collecting the contact information of any witnesses, as well as the information detailed in an accident report. If you are able to do so, you can also take pictures of the location where your slip and fall took place, noting any hazardous conditions a property knew or should have known about, but did nothing to fix (i.e. crumbling stairs, wet floors, open holes, insufficient lighting, etc.). You should also write down details about the incident while they are still fresh in your mind, and keep all records associated with medical expenses and other losses you suffered as a result of your injury.
- Watch what you say – It is important to remember that you stay calm and be aware of what you say following your accident. For example, apologizing or accepting blame in any way can harm your personal injury case, as defendants will often argue that it shows your acceptance of fault. You should also be careful when communicating with insurers or the property owner, as they may attempt to have you say things that can be used against you or even settle prematurely for much less than you deserve. You have a right to decline making statements to an insurance company or property owner, and can work with an attorney instead who can help you handle communications.
- Speak to a lawyer – One of the most important things you can do following a slip and fall accident of any type is to discuss your rights with an experienced attorney. At Caraway Injury Attorneys, our legal team is readily available to help victims when they need it most, especially while they are still focused on their physical recoveries. By working with a seasoned legal representation, you can the insight and resources needed to navigate the legal journey ahead, and fight back against insurance companies and corporations that want to pay you as little as possible.
If you have additional questions about your rights following a slip, trip, or fall accident, our Greater Sacramento personal injury lawyers at Caraway Injury Attorneys are here to help! Contact us for a FREE consultation.