WHAT TO DO AFTER A SLIP AND FALL ACCIDENT- 6 STEPS
You slip, you trip, or you fall and get injured! What do you do next? Do you help yourself up and go home? Do you call a family member to take you home? What do you do?
Slip and falls happen all the time. It typically happens when the property owner/store owner fails to adequately maintain the premises in a safe and secure manner.
Step 1: Notify the store owner/ land owner of the accident
Explain how it took place. (Ei. “I was walking down isle 5 and slipped on a clear substance that caused my legs to kick up and I landed on my back. I now have major back pain and need medical assistance.”) All employees are agents of the land owner/store owner. Notify an employee or agent of the incident.
After a slip and Fall accident you have to ask yourself, was there a sticky substance on the floor? Was there a slippery substance? Was there poor lighting? Was there bad flooring?
Step 2: Take Pictures
Take pictures of the substance you slipped on. Remember what isle you were in or what foods were in the area. Were you in the produce area? Where you by the Deli? Take notice of any cameras surrounding you. Take photographs of the shoes you were wearing.
The store/land owner may later state that you were the cause of the fall or it was your shoes or heals that caused the trip and fall and it was not caused by their negligence.
Step 3: File an Incident Report with the Facility
Make sure you write down names and job titles of any supervisors and employees on the scene. Sometimes the manager or supervisor will tell you that they can’t give you an incident report until corporate approves it.
This is more common with major supermarket chains. In that instant you should call the local police and fire rescue to evaluate you and this will also assure that you have something concrete in writing evidencing that an accident did occur at that location on that date.
Step 4: Contact an Attorney within 48 hours
It is important that you speak to a legal professional immediately after a personal injury accident. For example, your attorney should send out a preservation of evidence letter immediately. Most stores that have cameras only keep them for 30 days and then record over them.
That’s why it’s important that we communicate with the owner quickly. The video can prove that there was a substance on the floor and that employees may have walked by it several times without cleaning it up. We must prove that it could have been avoided or could have been avoided.If there is no video it is your word against theirs and litigation will become much more difficult.
Step 5: Begin treating with a Medical Professional
The most important thing is your well-being. Your health is priceless. The best-case scenario is that you walk out unharmed and never have to contact an attorney or seek medical attention. Unfortunately, in the event that you are seriously injured you need to seek medical attention immediately.
This will also prove that you are not just someone bringing a law suit to make a dollar but you have an injury and need to be compensation for your pain and suffering. Additionally, you want to show that your injuries were caused by this slip and fall and not from some other non-related accident. Lastly, you want to prevent this from happening to anyone else.
What if I don’t have health insurance? Its ok, doctors understand that many Americans can’t afford health insurance. That’s why LOPs exists or Letters of Protection. This is similar to an IOU. The medical provider will treat you at no upfront cost and will get paid from the compensation you receive from the accident. These costs are negotiable.
Accidents happen all the time, we get it. A question you must ask yourself is could the accident have been avoided, but wasn’t because of the negligence of the property/store/landowner owner?
Step 6: Take Notes
Write Down What You Remember. As time passes details will become fuzzy. You might forget names and dates. Write down everything you remember when its fresh in your mine. Were there witnesses? Get their names and phone numbers.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF
The first question we need to ask is “who are the liable parties?” The second questions are “were those parties negligent?” For example, a patron accidentally spills water on the floor of a grocery store, and a few minutes later you slip on the water and injure yourself.
Is the grocery store owner liable? It depends, how long the water was there? was an employee notified? how often are employees supposed to make rounds to check for spills in that store?
What if there is a leak in the woman’s bathroom and an employee comes in every 15 minutes to wipe the floor.
Is the grocery store liable if someone slips and falls in the bathroom? Most likely, because they should have fixed the leak and not solely wiped the floors every 15 minutes. It was foreseeable that someone would slip and fall within the 15 minutes that the employee was not wiping down the floors. Each set of facts are different. In order to prove liability your attorney will have to prove the following;
- Did the condition (ei. Wet floor) exist long enough that a reasonable owner/employee could have taken action to eliminate the condition?
- Did the owner have policies and procedures to routinely check for these hazardous conditions?
- Was there a justification for the condition and if so did the justification exist at the time of the accident?
- Could the condition have been made less dangerous by including a warning or preventing access to that area?
- Was there poor lighting or other unsafe conditions?
If you have been a victim of a slip and fall call us today to explore your options.