What to Do After a Slip and Fall Accident
Unfortunately, slip and fall accidents and trip and fall accidents occur frequently in various types of establishments.
Whether or not you have a case depends on several factors, but regardless of the circumstances, it’s imperative you gather proper evidence and get attorney representation as quickly as possible, especially if the case is complicated by your potential culpability, a number of potential defendants, a lack of eyewitnesses or even the fact that you’d be suing a large company with far more legal resources than you have.
Actions to Take After a Slip & Fall Accident
The order in which you complete these actions depends on the circumstances, of course, but they’re all vital.
Get Medical Attention
Not only is prompt medical care vital to a speedy and full recovery, waiting to get medical attention could leave an opening for the defense to claim you sustained the injuries at another time.
Take Photographs of the Area & Make Notes
You need to get photos of the scene of the accident, especially any disrepair or dangerous circumstances that caused your accident, as soon as possible. If you have a friend with you, you can ask them to take pictures while you’re being treated. For example, if you slipped on an area of pooled water due to a sprinkler being left on too long, that water will evaporate or may even be cleaned up by the time you get back, and it may not be an attempt to hide evidence, but someone doing the right thing to prevent further injuries.
Save your clothing
If you fell due to a substance on the floor, often the area will be cleaned up and it existence later disputed. If any substance got on your clothes during the incident, put your clothes and shoes in a plastic bag and let your attorney know that you saved them. It could be important evidence later on in the case.
If you later discover something like a no trespassing or other warning sign that you didn’t previously notice, it’s important to get a photo of the location of that, too — it may prove it wasn’t located in a place where those walking through could easily see it. Take pictures of your injuries if relevant (including the clothes you were wearing at the time).
The minute you can, jot down any notes about what you remember and ask anyone else who witnessed it to do the same thing. Gather the names and phone numbers of any witnesses you don’t already know, too. These notes are just to jog your memory later, as some cases take so long to go to court you may not remember the order in which things happened or exact details. Don’t share these notes with anyone but your attorney until your attorney instructs you to do so.
It’s also a good idea to remove any clothing you were wearing during the accident as soon as possible and keep them in a safe place in case they’re needed as evidence later. No one expects you to be a CSI. But your clothing may be proof that you were, in fact, cut or injured in the area (for example, if it has blood or tears). Do not try to fake this evidence or make it look worse. That’s when someone will get a forensics expert to prove it wasn’t the result of the accident and it could compromise your case if the damage to your clothing isn’t consistent with the injuries you claim you have or the details of the accident.
Report the Incident
File a report of the incident with the owner of the property and make sure you get a copy of any incident reports. This may not be possible with a homeowner, of course, but a store or government building should have a formal reporting system.
Note however, that you should limit the details you give them until you’ve spoken to an attorney. Tell them that you fell, what you tripped or slipped on and that you were injured. If they ask about the nature of your injuries, explain that you won’t know the full extent of the injuries until you’ve seen your doctor. Don’t say that your fine, even if you think you are. Some injuries don’t make themselves known until later.
Don’t get angry. It’s not going to change what’s happened and may result in the police being called due to your behavior. It also may make some people less willing to work with you later.
Careful What You Tell Insurance Companies, Witnesses and Other Curious Parties
Don’t tell the insurance company (even yours) any more information than they need to file your claim. If possible, don’t talk to the defendant’s insurance company at all until you’ve spoken with an attorney.
And this one is important: Never, ever share the details of your case on social media or via text message or email.
Get a Free Consultation with a Personal Injury Attorney
Personal injury lawyers generally give free consultations. We also work on contingency, which means you don’t pay for our time unless we win your case. That makes consulting us both economical and beneficial to getting the money you deserve.