Steps to Take if You Have been Injured in a Slip and Fall Accident
Sadly, slip and fall accidents can be very devastating and leave you incapacitated from your daily life activities. Slip and fall accidents can occur practically anywhere, such as in shopping malls, stores, parking lots, sidewalks, and even in another’s home. The owner of such properties can be at fault even for the actions of another (including guests, employees, or even trespassers) for failure to clean up or repair a condition that presents a safety hazard for those walking on the property or premises.
Slip and fall lawsuits are commonly referred to as premises liability; whereby, the owner of the premises is held to be at fault for accidents that occur due to certain defects on the owner’s property. Premises liability claims are not only limited to slip and fall accidents, but include other torts, such as trip and fall accidents or any other accidents occurring on another’s property. Trip and fall accidents are practically treated the same way as any other premises liability action; whereby, the property owner is held to be at fault for allowing some dangerous condition to exist that caused a person to trip and fall.
Generally, common conditions that lead to premises liability actions include wet or slippery floors, uneven steps or floors, falling objects, inadequate security, or any other dangerous conditions on one’s property. Some examples from a variety of our cases to illustrate the owner’s liability include:
- A restaurant owner being held to be at fault when employees failed to clean up a piece of food in a timely fashion, which resulted in a patron slipping and falling due to this piece of food.
- A homeowner was at fault when a guest at a home party tripped and fell while walking down uneven steps in the homeowner’s backyard.
- A chain store was at fault when a customer spilled a wet substance that was not timely cleaned up by employees and another person slipped and fell due to this substance.
If you have been injured in a slip and fall or trip and fall accident, it is of critical importance that you take the following steps to protect and secure your rights in a lawsuit against the owner of the property:
(1) Make an incident or accident report and look for witnesses.
Quite often, slip and fall accidents occur in a store or a building where there is a manager or employer who has a duty to report the accident. It is important that you make a written report to the manager, owner, or landlord and that you obtain a copy of this report before you leave the premises.
Should the accident have occurred in a private home, you should seek to obtain witnesses, especially if there are other guests or even family members present.
Additionally, should you trip and fall on a public sidewalk or slip and fall in a store or the like, you should take the names, addresses, and contact information of any witnesses to the accident. If practical, ask the witness(es) to stay and provide a written statement in your report to a manager or owner of the store or building.
If you are a customer dining or shopping in a restaurant or store, you should maintain the receipt of your purchase. This can provide as further evidence that you were at the location on the day of the accident.
(2) Take photographs of the accident location and the defective condition.
You should take pictures of the exact location where you fell, including pictures of the cause or condition that contributed to your fall – such as a liquid, food, crack, hole, icy patch, poor railing, unsteady step, or any other condition that contributed to your falling.
(3) Seek immediate medical assistance.
Of course, this should be a priority on your list. In addition to your health being a top priority, you must be able to properly substantiate that your injuries are a direct result of the slip and fall or trip and fall accident.
If you fail to seek the proper medical attention within a timely fashion, you will have a greater difficulty proving that your injuries are a direct result of your accident; especially when you wait several days or weeks prior to seeking medical attention. Moreover, just as in any personal injury case, if you are injured as a direct result of an accident, the law requires you to minimize your injuries by seeking proper medical attention and not allowing your injuries to be further aggravated because you have not sought medical treatment.
Receiving the proper medical attention and treatment will strengthen your personal injury claim against the property owner.
(4) Take photos of your bodily injury.
Quite often, slip/tip and fall accidents will result in bruises, cuts, scrapes, scratches, or any other visible injuries as a direct result of the accident. It is extremely important to have photos taken of your injuries. Photographs of fresh, visible injuries in the immediate aftermath of an accident can prove to be of evidentiary value for your case. Often times, the hospital or treating doctors will fail to take photos of your injuries even though they provide a strong indication that your bodily injuries exist and they substantiate your physical pain and discomfort.
(5) Preserve or save your shoes and clothing from the accident.
During the course of your lawsuit or claim against the owner of the property, the shoes and clothing you were wearing during the time of the accident can be valuable in confirming and substantiating your accident.
(6) Obtain the advice or counsel of a competent attorney who handles personal injury claims.
It can be stressful dealing with your injury claim, even against your own insurance. Slip and fall, as well as trip and fall cases require several aspects be proven, including fault that is attributable to the property owner, and that your injuries are a direct result of the accident. Therefore, it is important to seek the consultation of a competent and successful attorney who handles personal injury claims to assist you in your claim.
A competent personal injury attorney has the knowledge and experience in dealing with these types of claims and is in a better position to assert your rights. Once you’ve hired an attorney to represent you, your attorney will help you understand your rights and will handle your claim in obtaining the highest possible amount of monetary award to compensate you for your losses.
At Saidian & Saidian, we have the experience and knowledge required in handling slip/trip & fall accidents. We will fiercely pursue your claim and we are prepared to litigate you claim should the need arise. Our team is dedicated to obtaining effective results. Please do not hesitate to call our office for a free consultation today.