Nearly one million people visit emergency rooms after a slip and fall accident each year. If you slip and fall in a grocery store, department store or even your doctor's office, it is important to know what steps to take after the accident. Don't allow a simple misstep to harm your chances of seeking the compensation you deserve.
Here are a few things you should never do after a slip and fall accident.
Don't Assume Your Injuries Aren't Severe
After the fall, no matter the extent of your injuries, head to your local emergency room or urgent care. Even if you can walk out of the establishment, a doctor must examine and document the injuries. Tell the doctor about the fall and any past injuries or ailments that could be exacerbated by the fall. For example, if you have dealt with back issues in the past, let the emergency room doctor know about your pre-existing condition.
If you don't immediately go the emergency room after the incident, the other party's attorney could argue that any aches and pains you suffered because of the slip and fall occurred at a later time. This argument can make it difficult for you to receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Don't Skip Filing an Incident Report
Another common mistake that many slip and fall victims make is not reporting the accident to the store supervisor, owner or human resources manager. Whenever there is an accident or injury at a place of business, an incident report is filed. Chances are that the business will have a standard incident report and you will be asked to provide your name, phone number, address and an account of the accident.
Provide exact details of the accident. Do not be vague. Instead, tell the representative exactly what happened, and any injuries you sustained. Do not admit fault or apologize for your part in the incident. For example, if you were on your cell phone when you slipped on the wet floor, do not tell the representative.
Any apology or unnecessary details about your part in the accident could be seen as an admission of guilt or that you were at fault. Any evidence of your part in the accident can make it very difficult to successfully file a lawsuit against the company and win.
Don't Forget to Gather Evidence
In addition to providing your side of the story to a manager, supervisor or human resources staff, make sure to gather other types of evidence, including:
- Photos or your injuries. Snap several photos of your injuries immediately after your slip and fall and in the weeks and months to follow. These photos will document the extent of the injuries and how they have impacted your quality of life.
- Witness statements. Gather statements for any witnesses of the slip and fall. This could include employees or people that you know who were at the scene. Ask them to provide their name, phone number, and a description of what they saw.
- Photos of the scene. Take several photos of the scene, making sure to pay attention to any defects or damage that caused the slip and fall. For example, if you fell down the stairs, snap photos of any damage to the steps or a lack of a railing.
Your attorney will also help you gather other information about your case, such as an official copy of the incident report, a police report, and your medical report.
Suffering an injury from a slip and fall can dramatically impact your life, family and ability to work. If you have any further questions, don't hesitate to contact Jones, Boykin & Associates, P.C.