When you visit someone’s property, whether it’s a commercial business or a private home, you have the right to expect that the premises are safe. This is called a “duty of care” and it refers to the responsibility of a home or business owner to make sure their property is free of hazardous conditions.
If they fail to do so, you or someone you love could suffer a slip and fall injury because of the owner’s negligence. Slips and falls can be the result of dangerous premises and will affect many people each year. Slip and fall victims harmed by negligent business owners may be due compensation for medical bills, lost income, and reduced quality of life because of long term injury.
Causes of Slip and Fall Injury
Slip and fall accidents happen for a variety of reasons including:
- Unsafe flooring
- Wet surfaces
- Uneven concrete
- Unsafe stairs
What to do Following a Slip and Fall Accident
If you injure yourself due to one of the above situations or as the result of another on-premises hazard, our slip and fall accident lawyers are available to help. You have options in pursuing a case if you or someone you love is hurt on someone else’s property.
Steps to take after a slip and fall accident:
1. Seek medical attention right away. Your health or the health of a family member who has slipped and fallen on commercial or public property like a grocery store, restaurant, and bar, or hospital is paramount. Seek appropriate medical care immediately. Get medically evaluated even if injuries don’t seem serious at the time.
Not only does seeking medical assistance ensure that your health is prioritized—after all, slips and falls can result in serious injuries—but also that your injuries are properly documented should you choose to pursue a legal claim for your accident. Seeing a doctor and documenting the nature of your injuries can help later determine the cause and effect between the dangerous hazard you encountered and your fall.
2. Gather the name of the property owner or manager. When you or a family member are able, collect the name or names of individuals or the company responsible for the property, whether that is an owner or operating manager. Slip and fall cases can revolve around proving property owners or operators violated their duty to maintain a safe, hazard free premise.
3. Consider what led to your fall. If you’re able, quickly assess the scene of your slip and fall accident. Were entranceways, walkways, and stairs obstructed, not accurately marked, or improperly maintained? Did the area where you fell contain any hazards such as unmarked wet floors, exposed wiring, an errant extension cord, or uneven flooring or ice? Document these hazards and anything else out of the ordinary pertaining to your slip and fall, preferably with photographs.
4. Document what happened. Jot down what you were doing directly before your accident and how any hazards led to your fall. Documentation could include writing down details you or witnesses remember or taking photographs of the scene. Modern cell phones with high resolution cameras are great for this purpose and provide an instant timestamp of the photograph. If security cameras are present on the property, attempt to obtain video evidence of your fall. In addition, document visual evidence of the impact of your fall, including any bruising, bleeding, or visible swelling from your injuries. These can pair with a doctor’s report to make strong evidence.
5. Create an accident report. Report your slip and fall to the property manager or landlord as soon as possible and have them document your report. This step serves two purposes:
- It grants your legal slip and fall claim credibility.
- It gives the property owner an opportunity to fix the problem before it happens to someone else.
When reporting the accident, be sure not to make any official statements to the person making the report. Keep your conversation minimal and ask them to simply record the incident as it’s being described to them. Do not allow them to bully, intimidate, or harass you into changing your story. Conversely, do not blame the person or anyone associated with them for the accident, even if they are clearly at fault. Keep a cool head and concentrate on the facts.
6. Gather the names and phone numbers of any witnesses. Witnesses are third parties key to any personal injury claim and their word can be as valuable as the visual evidence you collect at the scene. Be sure to ask for names, phone numbers, emails, and a place of business or physical address so you can contact them later. Ask when it is appropriate to contact them to make a statement regarding your fall and to potentially act as a witness in court. Acquire several sets of contact information in case you are unable to get in touch with some witnesses.
7. Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. When a slip and fall accident occurs, lawyers for the property owner or manager may try to distort the situation, even when the evidence is clear. Successfully creating doubt among juries is common for personal injury defendants, unless a clear alternative narrative accurately reflecting the incident is established. A lawyer can also help with witness statements, obtaining video and photographic evidence, and coordinating with medical professionals to record your injuries thoroughly, so that you can focus on your medical recovery.
Contact a slip and fall lawyer at Stephens & Holman for a no-risk, no-obligation consultation. We have the knowledge and experience to help you navigate a successful personal injury case.
8. Avoid making a statement. After you’ve reported your slip and fall to a person affiliated with the property, an insurance adjuster may attempt to contact you. You are not required to, nor should you, make any statement to them regarding your slip and fall. Stay calm and otherwise engage this individual by referring them to the original report or having them contact your lawyer directly. Your lawyer can protect you from any insurance company intimidation or harassment.