It can happen in a matter of seconds. You could be grocery shopping, at a party with friends, or just walking down the sidewalk when you slip or trip–and hit the ground.
Falling in a public place or on someone’s property is a scary thing. Getting injured from it is even worse–especially if it wasn’t your fault. Unfortunately, many people will go through this experience in their lifetime, and it could happen anywhere.
Do I Need To Take Action Immediately After My Fall?
Slip and fall accidents can catch anyone off guard completely, leaving them in shock and not sure what to do afterward. To make things even more confusing, a fall inside a store could lead to a manager or employee asking you complicated questions or trying to get you to sign something.
Without a doubt, what you do right after a slip and fall accident could have a big effect on an injury claim that is filed later. Acting fast to get evidence and collect information is important because the best time to make a record of what caused the accident and why is immediately after it happens.
For these reasons, knowing what actions to take could save you a lot of trouble down the line if the worst happens. Following the steps below could also give you the best chance at financial recovery for any injuries and/or losses (like medical bills or time off work) that you might suffer as a result.
Who Is Responsible For My Slip And Fall?
Under Florida law*, there are certain people who have a legal responsibility to keep others safe on their properties. This rule goes for places like homes, businesses, parking lots, and public walkways–which must be properly taken care of for safe passage and use by other people.
This duty is called ‘premises liability‘, and it means that if you were hurt from a slip or trip and fall on someone else’s property because it was not maintained well enough, you could be legally entitled to compensation.
Keep in mind that finding fault for these kinds of accidents can be complicated, so contacting an experienced attorney can help you figure out what your claim could be worth. If you or a loved one were hurt in a slip and fall and have questions, we can help–call us at (813) 229-5353 or visit us online and get started with your free case review.
What Can I Do To Protect My Rights After I’ve Fallen?
Here are seven things to do if you suffer a slip and fall accident:
Check Out The Scene
Take a good look at the scene of the accident to determine what may have caused it. Maybe there was a puddle of liquid, a broken step, or a hole that you didn’t see before. The faster you can do this after your fall, the better you can get an idea of the condition that led to it.
Documenting what caused your accident can majorly help your case and prove that your story is true. If you can show a jury of people what caused your fall, they might get a much better idea of what the at-fault party could have done to prevent it.
You are essentially collecting valuable evidence here, so do it as soon as possible. Conditions can change, liquids can dry up, and broken things can be fixed–you don’t want that to ruin your chance to be fairly compensated for your injuries. If you can’t document things yourself, ask someone who you trust to do it for you.
Take as many pictures and videos as you can of:
- the location of the accident,
- any clothes or personal items that were damaged or ripped in the fall,
- your injuries, including cuts or bruises on your skin, and
- anything else that you think played a part in the accident.
This could mean taking pictures of the exact place where you fell, as well as the area around you, any signs nearby, and areas near the scene. Do close-up and zoomed out shots and capture many different angles if you can.
Don’t worry if you do not have a fancy camera, and do not be picky when you are documenting the scene-just snap away. An experienced attorney can help you figure out what will be important for a case later. Call us for help at (813) 229-5353 or contact us online for your free case review.
Collect Witness Information
Witnesses can be very important in slip or trip and fall cases because they saw or heard the event right as it happened. This means they can give an honest and fair description of what took place.
If a witness’s story can back up your version of the event, it can show that your injury claim is grounded in truth. For this reason, you should work quickly to get the contact information (name, address, phone number, and email address) of anyone who may have been nearby when the accident occurred. It’s possible that you may need to reach out to them later to testify for you.
If you hire an injury law attorney, they should follow up with witnesses to get an official statement as soon as possible.
Report the Accident
It is a good idea to tell the highest-ranking person in charge of the property about the fall. This could be a homeowner, a landlord, or a store manager, depending on the kind of property where you fell.
Immediately reporting the incident is a sure way to show that you are serious about any injuries that you may have. It can also help create a more full record if you decide to file an injury claim later. If you are unable to report the fall yourself, have a trusted family member or friend contact the right person to make the report for you as soon as possible.
If the accident took place inside of a store, a manager or employee may ask you to make an official accident report. It is okay to provide the basic facts for them to include in the report, but remember when you are speaking with a manager or staff:
- do not give any more information than what is needed,
- do not fill anything out yourself,
- do not sign anything,
- do not agree to a recorded statement,
- keep your emotions in check to avoid arguing,
- do not play down your injuries or take the blame, and
- do not get into who’s fault the accident was.
Also, make sure you get a copy of that report for your records.
Write Down What Happened
As soon as you can, write down the details of the slip and fall and how it happened while it’s still fresh in your mind. Write everything (even the small things) that you can remember because you may not realize the importance of certain facts until later. This is where an experienced injury attorney can help you–they should be able to sort out what parts can help build your claim.
You can do this with a notetaking app on your phone or with a piece of paper and a pen–any way that helps you make a written record of the event. Be sure to include details about any pains, injuries, or symptoms that you are suffering from after the fall.
Seek Medical Attention ASAP
After an accident like this, your health and well-being absolutely come first. If you believe that you may have been hurt in any way, get seen by a doctor immediately. Even if you are not sure, you may want to visit a doctor just in case you have sustained a head injury or something that you may not feel yet.
Getting examined by a medical professional right away is also key evidence that can be used for any injury claim that you may want to file later. This is because a record for medical treatment can prove what injuries you had when the doctor examined you.
It can also show that the timing of when the injuries developed is connected with the fall. This can prevent the defense from arguing that your injuries are less serious or they could have come from something else.
If it turns out that you were injured in a slip and fall accident but you never saw a doctor or you saw them too late, you may be out of luck to get a fair recovery. Without a doctor’s proper record of your injuries, a claim for this kind of accident can totally fall apart.
Call an Attorney
For any slip and fall claim, timing is absolutely critical. Although it is totally normal to feel embarrassed, shy, or shocked from the experience of falling on someone else’s property, it is still just as important to gather information and collect evidence to protect yourself later.
These kinds of cases can be difficult to prove, so hiring an injury attorney with experience as soon as possible is the best way to find out what your claim could be worth. Our team of attorneys and staff can handle the challenges of the legal process while you focus on what’s important: getting your life back on track.
Do not settle for getting stuck with bills and stress over a fall caused by someone else’s negligence. Call us today at (813) 229-5353 or we are available online 24/7 to get you started with your free case evaluation.