May 10, 2013

What slip and fall lawyers recommend

When you slip and fall at a business, there are steps that need to be taken to ensure that you get the law on your side. We’ve talked about various slip and fall cases, like Dominguez v. Publix, Edwards v. Hy-Vee, and Grimes v. Family Dollar, as well as what makes or breaks these cases. There are three things that slip and fall lawyers will advise you to do in order to ensure a settlement: report the injury, request the business provide medical services, and inform the business where the incident occurred.

Report your injury

First, and most importantly, you need to inform the business that you are injured. Confirm that the business puts your injury in their records: they need to create an incident report and document it. Even if you feel ashamed or embarrassed that this injury happened, slip and fall lawyers will agree that this is the most important step.

If you plan to be reimbursed for this incident – for medical bills, lost hours at work, etc. – you will need the business to file a claim with their insurance. For them to do so, they need to have the incident recorded. If the slip and fall isn’t recorded, the business could very well deny that it ever occurred. Where the law is concerned, if it’s not on paper, it doesn’t exist. This also means putting in writing that you request any video surveillance. This will ensure that the business owner does not destroy any evidence that may help your case.

Request emergency medical services

When the incident occurs, you should also be sure that the business call emergency medical services; if you’ve been injured enough to inform the business, you’ve been injured enough to be attended to by medical services. While you are on their property, it is their responsibility to provide a safe place. If they are aware of areas that may put customers at risk, it is their responsibility to clearly indicate those risks. This means informing you verbally, using signs, cones, roping off the area, or any other reasonable effort to protect you from potential risk.

Inform the business where you fell

Finally, you should be clear in informing any employees where it is that you fell. This is important not only so that they may advise other customers of any potential risk, like mentioned above, but also so that the incident report is clear of any miscommunication.

When you do communicate where it is that you fell, refrain from going into details regarding what is hurting. While you may discuss where you fell, what caused you to fall, and the fact that you are injured, explaining your injuries may complicate the process down the line.

For example, like not experiencing pain from an injury until weeks after a car accident, you may not feel the true extent of your injuries until after the fact. Therefore, if you discuss the details of your injuries with the business when they file a report, but your body experiences a delayed reaction to the fall days later, you will likely not be able to claim this “new” injury as related. If your back doesn’t start hurting until the next day and the pain means you’re bedridden for a month, those lost wages won’t be reimbursed! This means your insurance company may not be obligated for things like pain and suffering and lost earning capacity.

Further, if you discuss the details of how you fell, the business may dispute that the details of your injuries do not match up with the way in which you fell. Therefore, slip and fall lawyers will recommend that you simply communicate that you fell, why you fell (i.e. wet floor, or other hazards), that you require medical services, and insist that the business files a report.

Record the fall yourself

If your fall is severe enough that you’re thinking of addressing the situation legally, you need to be your own advocate from the get-go. If you are able, photograph the fall and what caused it yourself. If there was a substance on the ground, make sure to get your own evidence. Also be sure to record evidence of the business not warning patrons of any danger, meaning a lack of signs or any other notification.

Ask witnesses for their contact information

The more voices you have, the stronger your case. If there are others around you who witnessed your fall, make sure to ask for their contact information – they could make your case if they’re willing to defend you in court.

In the end, you want to be sure that you have all of your information collected and fact-checked. You don’t want there to be a shadow of a doubt that you fell, were injured, and the thing that caused you to fall is under the responsibility of the business. Whether you fall at a grocery store or at a sporting event, the business may try to prove that they are not liable, and you will want a strong case.

You may also be interested in:

Grimes v. Family Dollar
Edwards v. Hy-Vee: Case Dismissed
Dominguez V. Publix: A Slip and Fall Case
Homeowners Insurance Personal Injury Claim: When You’re Liable
Spectator Injuries at Sporting Events: What to Know
What is Lost Earning Capacity?
How to Earn Slip and Fall Settlements