Slip or trip and falls are among the most common sources of personal injury claims. A fall on an untreated icy sidewalk, a trip on a hazardous obstacle in a public building, or a slip on an unmarked wet spot on a grocery store floor may constitute a legitimate personal injury claim. These types of accidents may result in tissue damage, broken bones, and time loss from work. Pursuing action against the party or parties responsible for your injury provides you the opportunity to have your medical expenses covered by those who are liable while holding the appropriate parties accountable to ensure that others do not find themselves in your position. After a slip and fall, there are five steps that you should take immediately in order to preserve and validate your claim.
- See a doctor
If you fall and believe that you have been injured, seek medical attention immediately. Certain injuries are not evident until later. You may have difficulty proving the source of your injuries if you do not document your medical treatment.
After you receive treatment from urgent care or emergency physicians, retain all of your paperwork including referrals, prescription receipts, post-care instructions, and medical bills. This documentation will help your attorney to prove the cost, existence, and severity of your injuries.
- Complete an incident report
If you suffer from a slip/trip and fall, notify a staff member at the property immediately and request to complete a written incident report. A verbal notification of your accident is insufficient for many reasons: it can be disputed, it may not be descriptive or objective enough, and the recollections of those involved may vary. A written incident report ought to be administratively filed at the property.
When completing the incident report, remember to be as descriptive as possible. Note every detail, no matter how seemingly irrelevant.
If one is not provided to you, ask management for a copy of the incident report for your own records.
- Collect contact information
It is important to note and take contact information from the owner, property manager, any staff with whom you may have interacted, and any witnesses to your injury. If you are not able to collect contact information, your attorney may be able to subpoena the necessary individuals in order to establish liability and validate your story. However, noting names and phone numbers will expedite your claims process.
- Take photos and notes of the area
One day, you are shopping in the grocery store and- before you know it- you find yourself laying, hurt and confused, on the floor. You look around and notice that you have slipped on a puddle. You do not see a “Caution Wet Floor” sign and the hazard is not blocked off in any way.
Later, the store manager or owner may try to dispute your story. They may tell the judge or jury that the floor was not wet, that the aisle was blocked off, or that a caution sign was displayed. Without proper documentation to support your account, your case could turn into a “he said/she said” debate.
It is extremely important to take pictures of the scene including the site of injury, the lighting, the surrounding fixtures, and the hazard. An employee on the property may be required to take photographs for administrative records. Do not rely on these pictures as a full and complete representation- make sure to take your own.
- Talk to an experienced attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip and fall, motor vehicle collision, or any type of accident, please call the attorneys at Rehmeyer & Allatt for a free consultation.