My sister suffered a horrendous slip and fall a few months back, but her lawyer told her she couldn’t pursue a claim because she didn’t take appropriate action immediately afterward. What should she have done after her fall to secure a claim?
If you’ve lived in Washington for more than a month, you know that precipitation (in any form) is to be expected. Whether it be copious amounts of rain or the occasional snow fall, our sidewalks are perpetually wet. Unfortunately, with the increase of precipitation comes the increase of slippery roads, slick sidewalks, wet floors, and dangerous slip and fall accidents.
One moment you are going about your day, the next you’re staring up at the sky with a searing pain in your head, neck, back, and legs. You know that you have to get up, but should you? Is it safe to move? If you can stand, then what? Do you just go about your day, or do you need to talk to someone about your injuries? If you are seriously hurt, can you file a claim? If so, what do you need to file?
All of these questions are important, which is why it is essential that you not only know your injury risks, but also know what you should and should not do following an accident.
Do’s and Don’ts Following a Slip and Fall
Many businesses have insurance in the event that someone slips and falls on their property. Unfortunately, many people who visit others’ property do not have a plan for what they should do if they’re injured in a slip-and-fall accident. These types of accidents can be painful, confusing, and embarrassing—and many people make key mistakes in the moments, hours, and days after an injury. Don’t allow your slip and fall claim to be jeopardized by simple mistakes. Instead, follow these guidelines to secure vital information and prevent claim problems.
Do’s: Essential Actions to Take After a Fall
Get immediate medical attention. Nothing is more important than your health. After a fall, make sure you see your doctor as soon as possible to rule out any serious injuries. Even if you don’t think you’re badly hurt, seeing a doctor can provide reassurance as well as evidence for your slip-and-fall claim.
Collect any accident reports. If you have fallen at a business or store, the management should fill out an accident report related to your injury. If you do not need immediate medical attention, make sure you’re there to fill in details of the report and to collect a copy for your records. If you’re unable to be present for the report, have a friend or family member secure a copy.
Collect evidence from the scene. If possible, take photos of the scene. If you’re not physically able, request assistance from a friend or companion. Make sure the photos accurately display the scene, including the hazard that caused the fall. Photos can be extremely compelling evidence. Even cell phone pictures can help. You may also want to take the opportunity to photograph any injuries such as scrapes and bruises as they appear.
Collect witness information. If anyone saw the accident, collect his or her name and contact information. You should also collect the names and titles of any employees or managers who responded to the accident as well as any police officers who were at the scene.
Document your accident. As soon as you are able, write down your account of the accident with as many details as you can remember while they are fresh in your mind.
Contact a slip and fall injury lawyer. Before speaking to the insurance company or agreeing to any type of settlement or compensation, you need to make sure your rights are being protected. Contact us today to speak with an experienced attorney who will fight to secure the compensation you deserve.
Don’ts: Actions to Avoid Following a Fall
Don’t apologize. It’s an instinctive reaction to say you are sorry after an accident, especially if you are embarrassed about what has happened. However, you need to resist the urge. Anything you say can be used against you later—and even if you feel as if it’s your mistake, you may not know the whole story yet. Another person’s negligence could have resulted in your fall, but when you apologize you’re essentially admitting guilt. This takes liability and blame away from the truly guilty party.
Don’t leave without speaking to the authorities. Again, many people feel embarrassed in the moments after a slip and fall and want to leave the premises immediately. However, it is important that you or someone you know remains on the scene to fill out accident reports, speak to the property’s manager, and discuss the accident with police.
Don’t ignore injuries or symptoms. It is vital both to your health and to your injury claim that you see a doctor and tell her all of your symptoms and pains. Some injuries—such as many brain and head injuries—may not exhibit symptoms until several days after the event. Others, such as back or neck injuries, may become chronic problems.
Don’t give a recorded statement to your insurance company. You are not obligated to give a recorded statement to your insurance company right away. Doing so before you have all of the facts of the case may be harmful to your attempts to get the compensation you deserve. Speak to a lawyer first.