Slip and falls can happen anywhere due to any number of conditions. When these types of accidents occur, you might feel overwhelmed and not know what to do next. Critically, what you do immediately after a slip and fall accident can have a significant impact on any lawsuit you might file — and the amount of monetary damages you may be entitled to obtain.
Below are steps you should generally take after a slip and fall accident.
Seek Medical Attention
Whether you’re in a lot of pain or just a little after your slip and fall accident, it’s crucial to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Not only is it important to rule out internal bleeding, broken bones, concussion, and any other injuries, but medical documentation is the foundation of your personal injury claim.
The longer you go without obtaining a medical exam, the more compensation you could potentially lose. No matter how severe your injuries, if you can’t prove they were caused by the defendant’s failure to maintain the property in a safe condition, you won’t have a viable case.
Additionally, if you fail to seek treatment until weeks or months later, the insurance company will likely try to argue that the injuries were sustained during another incident.
File an Accident Report
Memorializing your slip and fall incident by filing an accident report is one of the most important things you can do in support of your injury claim. It will record the date, time, and location the slip and fall occurred, the contact information for any witnesses, and a description of the hazardous condition.
If your slip and fall accident occurred in a place of business, you may be able to file an incident report with management. Often, companies have their own accident reporting procedures. However, you must ensure that the report is correct and that you obtain a copy. Filing a report with the police can also be advantageous for your case — especially if there is a code violation that should be documented.
Keep in mind that any statements you provide when making a report will become part of the document. It’s critical that you relay the details surrounding your accident precisely and accurately.
Take Photographs to Document Your Case
If possible, take a look at the area surrounding where you fell to determine what made you lose your footing.
Whether you slipped on liquid, debris, rain, ice, or another substance, try to take several photos of the condition with your cell phone from different angles.
But be sure to photograph the condition as soon as possible after the accident— the defendant will likely remedy the condition very quickly following your fall. Importantly, not only can photos depict the dangerous condition, but they can also indicate the absence of any warning signs or caution tape that should have been in place.
Besides taking pictures of the scene of the accident, it’s a good idea to photograph your footwear. Since the insurance company will contend that your shoes caused you to fall, being able to show what you were wearing on your feet can be a key piece of evidence to refute their argument.
Taking timely photos of any bruises, swelling, scrapes, or lacerations you sustained can also help demonstrate that your injuries were directly caused by the defendant’s negligence.
Watch What You Say to the Insurance Company
If you suffered injuries in a slip and fall, you’ll probably start receiving phone calls from the defendant’s insurance company within days of the accident.
No matter how friendly the insurance company representative might seem, remember they’re not on your side. They’re looking to protect the defendant’s interests and pay out as little as possible on your claim. So, be careful what you say. Anything you tell the defendant’s insurance company about the accident or your injuries can be misconstrued and used against you.
Once you hire a personal injury lawyer, the insurance company is no longer permitted to contact you directly and must go through your attorney.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Working with a personal injury lawyer is the only way you can ensure that your legal rights are protected and you receive the maximum compensation you deserve. We have a track record of regularly securing millions in settlements and verdicts for clients who have suffered injuries in slip and fall accidents. However, you need to be aware that the clock on the statute of limitations begins ticking on the day of the accident — it’s essential that you don’t delay contacting an experienced slip and fall lawyer.
The Edelsteins, Faegenburg & Brown LLP is a New York City personal injury firm with more than eighty years of experience fighting for the rights of slip and fall victims. Located in Manhattan, we have been helping those injured by the negligence of another obtain the compensation they deserve since 1937. Call to schedule a free consultation at (212) 425-1999 today.