Properly filling out an incident report is essential to securing a potential slip and fall injury claim. Ensure your report is complete by clicking here.

When filling out an incident report, what should I include in order to protect a potential injury claim?

 

A:

One of the responsibilities that a business or other public space has is to protect customers, employees, and visitors. This means that if a slip and fall occurs on the property, the owner may be liable for damages if it can be proven the business was at fault. Unfortunately, the property owner or manager is not likely to be overly cooperative. This is why documentation is so important. 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that businesses have proper incident reports readily available for slip and fall accidents (whether employee-related or not). However, in order to downplay your accident and avoid repercussions, many businesses will claim that you don’t need to fill one out. Instead, they may tell you that they’ll “investigate” the issue and get back to you.

You’ve already hurt yourself, don’t make it worse by falling for a lie!

Incident reports need to be filed in order to provide documented proof of the accident in case an injury claim needs to be pursued. Furthermore, safety inspectors use these documents to rate businesses on safety standards. Therefore, if a manager fails to ask you to fill out a report, or tells you that you don’t need to bother, make sure you insist or, if you’re unable to physically complete the form, have a loved one handle it for you.

Incident Report Guidelines

When filling out an incident report for a slip and fall accident make sure to include the following information:

  • Date and time of accident. Try to be as precise as possible as this information can be used to secure video footage as well as corroborate witness statements.
  • Personal information. Make sure to include information such as your full name, age, address, phone, email, etc. Not only will this information be useful for inquiries, but it can also be used as evidence if the liable party claims he couldn’t follow up with you due to a lack of information.
  • Location of the incident. Again, be precise. If the accident occurred in a store, make sure you list the name of the store, what department you were in, and any relevant landmarks (stairs, loading ramp, cart corral, etc.).
  • Description of incident and scene. Although you don’t have to write a novel, make sure you include every aspect that may have contributed to the accident. This will give a clear picture of the accident as well as verify how your injuries occurred. Be sure to include the area’s layout and take special note of lighting conditions, caution signs (or lack thereof), equipment (mops or rugs to soak up fluid, signs or barricades), etc.
  • Weather and surface conditions. Was the ground wet, icy, muddy, or cracked? Was it snowing or sleeting outside? How long had it been raining before you slipped? Was there adequate time for the store to set up safety measures?
  • Witness statements. If you’re unable to get actual statements at the time of injury, make sure you write down names and phone numbers in order to secure the statements later.
  • Description of injury. Although you don’t have to be medically precise, make sure you include any areas of pain or discomfort as well as any areas of impact as injuries can sometimes take a while to manifest.
  • Treatment given (if any). Was a paramedic called? Were you given an icepack or bandage? Did you need to go the hospital? If you needed medical treatment, make sure to keep records so you can add them to the report.

It doesn’t matter if your slip and fall was minor or catastrophic, always make sure you fill out an incident report. Even if it is never used, a documented report of the incident can give you peace of mind, as well as compel the liable party to up their safety measures to prevent further injuries.