Many people roll their eyes at reports of slip-and-fall accidents, but the simple truth is that these accidents can be extremely serious. A fall could lead to broken bones, muscle strains or tears or traumatic brain injuries. The pain and suffering can last for years.
Property owners must take reasonable steps to protect the health and safety of visitors. When they fail, you deserve compensation to help afford the medical treatment and lost wages that come with your injury. To protect your claim, there are several important steps you must take as soon as possible after your accident.
1. Report the accident to the store immediately and get a record
It is important to report the accident so that you can prove its seriousness. Do not give the store a chance to doubt your claims. Calmly tell them what happened and that you would like written documentation. Do not sign any forms. You could accidentally absolve the premises owner of any liability.
2. Collect as much evidence as you can
If you are in a retail store and you slip and fall on a liquid spill, chances are that store staff will move quickly to clean up the spill soon after you report it. You won't be able to come back two days later to show the hazard to other people. If you are able, take pictures of any hazards and look for surveillance equipment. Do not wash the clothes you were wearing.
3. Get the names of witnesses
Witness accounts will be important to back up your claim that the store was acting negligently. If anyone witnesses your accident, ask for their names and contact information.
4. Seek medical attention immediately
If you fail to seek medical attention, you will give the property owner a chance to claim that your injuries are not that serious and that you do not deserve compensation. As soon as possible, visit your doctor, take notes of all of your treatment and follow the doctor's orders for treatments.
5. Don't post about it on social media
Talking about an accident on social media can get many people in trouble. It may appear as if you are making light of the situation. Even worse, if you post an unrelated picture after your accident, you may accidentally provide proof that your injuries are not serious.
6. Don't talk to the property owner's insurance company
Insurance adjusters are not on your side. They are skilled at asking questions to elicit information that will make you seem at fault for your injuries. Do not speak to any insurance adjusters and do not sign any forms.
7. Talk to an attorney
As soon as possible, talk to an experienced personal injury attorney about your rights and options. Your attorney can handle all interactions with insurance agents, evaluate your evidence and speak with any potential witnesses. Do not attempt to seek compensation alone. Work with someone who understands the complex legal process.