Slip and fall accidents happen everywhere—from shopping malls to restaurants to apartment complexes. Fortunately, you may have legal recourse if you have sustained an injury through this type of incident. This is because the person who owns and manages a certain type of property is legally obligated to keep their property reasonably safe for tenants, clients, employees, and visitors. But whether you qualify for compensation may depend on your decisions immediately following the accident.
To maximize your likelihood of obtaining compensation after a slip and fall accident, take these 7 critical steps.
1. Document the Incident
The devil is in the details, and you never know which detail may be the most important point in your case. As such, take the time to thoroughly photograph the scene of the fall. While your memory is fresh, take notes about what you and other parties were doing before, during, and after the incident. If there was a surveillance camera, you may want to request a copy of the footage from the owner or manager.
2. Collect Contact Information from Eyewitnesses
This is a very important step that many people miss. Especially when an accident occurs in a business or public space, eyewitnesses tend to be strangers, and they may leave the scene fairly quickly. If possible, request the contact information of anyone you believe could provide eyewitness testimony.
3. Save Physical Evidence
Were your clothes torn or bloodied from the fall? Did any of your possessions or other objects break? Keep anything that may serve as evidence.
4. Report the Incident
Depending on where the incident occurred, you may need to report it to a manager, business owner, landlord, homeowner, or even a governmental agency. Obtain a copy of the report, if possible, and document the time and date.
5. Seek Medical Attention Right Away
Going to the doctor may be an obvious choice if you sustained a severe injury. But even minor injuries may be more serious than they appear. Head trauma and internal bleeding are just a couple of examples of injuries that require immediate medical attention but may not be readily apparent.
Immediate medical attention is important for two major reasons:
- It will maximize your likelihood of achieving a full, speedy recovery. Many injuries will get worse over time without rest, physical therapy, surgery, and other forms of treatment.
- You may lose your right to full compensation if you don’t treat your injury. In personal injury cases, plaintiffs must fulfill their duty to mitigate damages. In other words, they must take reasonable steps to see a doctor, complete treatment, and otherwise prevent the injury from getting worse. If you fail to mitigate damages, you may lose your eligibility for full compensation.
For these reasons, be sure to go to a doctor as soon as possible and follow their orders.
6. Stay Off of Social Media
What you post can and will be used against you. Insurance companies regularly investigate social media profiles, and they may capitalize on any posts or photos that seem to contradict what you have claimed regarding your experience and recovery.
For example, let’s say you have seriously injured your leg, but you post several photos of yourself at parties. In reality, you may be sitting as much as possible and doing what you can to rest your injury. But the photos may look to the court as though you have exaggerated the pain you have experienced and aren’t taking necessary steps to recover.
In general, try to minimize your posts (or even suspend your accounts) during the entire legal process.
7. Consult with Your Attorney Before Speaking with Your Insurance
Your insurance company will do everything possible to avoid paying what they owe you. This includes using what you say over the phone to undermine your claim. When you speak with an attorney first, they can coach you and help you make all the right moves from beginning to end. Getting a lawyer involved as soon as possible can greatly improve your chances of securing the money you need and deserve.
Schedule Your Free Consultation Today
Our attorney at the Law Office of Seni Popat has years of experience helping clients obtain compensation after all kinds of incidents. If you recently sustained an injury in a slip and fall accident, our law firm can help you navigate this challenge and provide the advocacy you need to secure a favorable resolution. Let us handle the legal aspects of your case so you can focus on what matters most: your recovery.