Most people have been walking along innocently and accidentally tripped, stumbled, or had a fumble while walking. It happens quickly and often because you aren’t paying attention. For most, they brush it off, feeling slightly embarrassed, and are quickly no worse off than before the stumble.
Yet, a slip and fall accident is another story. When a person is out, slips and actually falls, serious injury can incur. Often these falls are the result of someone else’s negligence.
An injury from a fall is frustrating and exacerbated when it’s the fault of another person. Because of the type of injury often associated with slip and fall accidents, these can be lingering and frustrating injuries too.
If you have experienced a slip and fall injury, you might be wondering what you can do to get compensation for your injuries. Read on to learn what to do when you are the victim of a slip and fall injury.
What Is a Slip and Fall Injury?
A slip and fall injury is a type of personal injury that happens when a person falls down and is injured. Often this injury is the result of someone else’s negligence.
There are a variety of injuries that can result from a slip and fall accident. Some can have minimal short term consequences. While other slip and fall injuries can have long-term and lingering results from the fall.
Often slip and fall injuries result in neck and back injuries. Victims often can experience a type of whiplash from the sudden jerking movement from the fall. More severe injuries can even include a traumatic brain injury if the head hits the ground as a result of the fall.
Why and Where Falls Happen
Slip and fall accidents happen because someone else has been negligent in caring for their property creating a danger that resulted in a fall.
Slip and fall accidents often are the result of wet floors. Sometimes slip and fall accidents happen because there was not proper snow and ice removal. Uneven sidewalks or unsafe stairways can also result in slip and fall accidents.
These types of accidents can happen in private residences or public spaces. Some common public spaces include:
- Grocery stores
- Shopping centers or malls
- Health clubs or gyms
Common areas in government buildings or apartment buildings are another common place for slip and fall injuries to occur.
Who’s Liable for Your Fall?
Proving liability is the trickiest part of slip and fall cases. It is necessary to show that the person who is responsible for the place of the fall knew there was a potential danger and did nothing about it.
In a slip and fall injury case an insurance company will make every effort to show that the person who fell is at fault, instead of the owner of the premises.
If you fall at a private residence, the person’s homeowners insurance company would be involved. If your fall happened at a business or office, they should be carrying liability insurance for protection against such situations.
Compensation for Your Slip and Fall Accident
If you have experienced a slip and fall accident at the fault of someone else, you may be entitled to compensation. The compensation will vary based on the severity of your injuries and the amount of pain and suffering associated with your fall injuries.
First, you want to factor in concrete costs from the injury. These are the costs you have incurred from things like medical bills for treatment and any lost wages you have missed because of the injury.
Then your attorney will consider the pain and suffering you have experienced as a result of the injury. This is where a qualified attorney can really help you as they negotiate with the involved insurance companies.
You’ve Fallen, What Should You Do?
A slip and fall case requires showing there was fault involved. If you have experienced a slip and fall accident there are some things you should immediately do to help your case.
The more thorough you are able to be immediately following your accident, the easier time an attorney will have in proving fault for your case.
If possible, follow these steps to gather information about your slip and fall, so later when you have an attorney involved, they can use it on your behalf.
Call for Emergency Help
You have slipped and fallen. You might even feel a little embarrassed by the fall and want to avoid the attention. Yet, call 911 for emergency help is important.
First, slip and fall injuries can often be more serious than they appear initially. It makes sense before you start moving around, to get some medical attention. You don’t want to make your injury any worse by pretending it doesn’t exist.
You also immediately document your accident by calling for emergency services. It connects your injury to the fall. The police, medics, or fire will do a report about the accident and the conditions at the time of the fall.
Figure Out What Caused Your Fall
Of course, your immediate care should be for yourself. Once you are certain you have received the immediate medical attention you need, then look around.
You want to see if you can identify what caused your fall. It could be the floor was wet with a puddle that wasn’t cleaned up. Perhaps you fell outside where there was ice on the sidewalk or parking lot. Maybe there was a torn piece of carpet or uneven flooring that caused your fall.
If it’s possible to identify it, you should. You should also immediately notify the location of what caused your fall.
Identify Witnesses to the Fall
As was already mentioned, once insurance companies get involved, they will want to revert blame for a fall back to you. It gets them off the hook for paying any compensation for the fall.
Once you have fallen, you want to see if there are any witnesses to the fall around you. These people will become important later when your attorney has to negotiate with the insurance company. It takes away the scenario of your word against their word.
If there are witnesses, get their contact information, including name and phone number. You might also ask them to write down what they saw when the accident happened. They corroborate the conditions that caused you to fall.
Document the Scene
You want to document the scene too. Take notes on what happened to you. What are the conditions that caused your fall?
If you have a cell phone on you, photographs can be very useful later on. Either you snap some photos or ask someone near you to take pictures. Try to get pictures from a variety of different angles and directions to show the conditions.
Don’t be afraid to take both close-up photos of what caused your fall and pictures of the whole scene from a step or two back.
Get Necessary Medical Treatment
Again, for most people, their initial instinct is to want to avoid the attention and brush off medical attention. You need to get checked out by medical professionals following your fall.
It also becomes very important to follow all prescribed care following your fall. You certainly don’t want an insurance company to suggest you have not followed doctor’s orders and therefore your injury hasn’t healed because of something you did instead of the insurance company.
Medical records also become important documentation for your attorney later as they work on your case.
Contact an Attorney
Once you have received medical care, you want to contact your attorney. It is smart to do this sooner, rather than waiting too long. The more quickly your attorney can be involved the better.
They can start their own investigation right away. It’s helpful for them to be able to talk to witnesses while the scene is fresh in their minds.
In some states, there are restrictions on how long you can wait before filing a personal injury case.
It is also helpful if your attorney can be involved at the onset of your case before the involved insurance companies start to contact you.
It will be the role of your attorney to negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf, hopefully working towards a settlement. If a settlement can’t be reached, they can file for a court hearing.
What To Do After a Slip and Fall Accident
A slip and fall accident can be traumatic. Experiencing an injury at the fault of another person or place is unnecessary and unjust. Make sure you protect yourself by doing the right thing following an accident.
If you have experienced a slip and fall accident, we can help. Contact us today so we can get started helping you.