Since slip and fall accidents are unexpected, it can be hard to know what to do after you have been injured. That being said, what you do right after your slip and fall can actually impact your claim, and your ability to receive a fair amount for your losses. If you have recently had a slip and fall accident, it is important to know that you have the right to sue under a negligence claim, no matter what state you live in.
However, each state does have its own statute of limitations, which states how long you have to file that claim. For example, in Florida, you must file your claim within four years of your slip and fall accident. If the statute of limitations runs out, you are no longer allowed to file a claim regardless of how severely you were injured.
Here are the specific details on what to do after a slip and fall accident in order to have a successful claim against the negligent party:
First and foremost, make sure to seek medical attention. This is important not only for your injuries but also to help build your case. Without documenting your injuries, you may not get the full amount you deserve.
When you visit your doctor or the emergency room immediately after your slip and fall, medical professionals will begin a record of your injuries. This will also help you prove the timing of your slip and fall. If you go right away, the other party cannot say you may have gotten your injuries elsewhere and the timeline will be set, which is very important for your case.
Additionally, you may not know the full extent of your injuries right after your fall. For instance, you may not know you have a head trauma until a doctor takes a look at you. Many injuries can be hidden in the direct aftermath of a slip and fall accident, and a medical professional will know what to look for, and document it accordingly. All of these facts will help you and your attorney build a complete case for a fair recovery.
Take a look around to see what caused your fall. Is there a display out that anyone could easily trip over? Is the floor wet, or is the store overcrowded? Make sure to locate the cause right away in order to figure out if the store or its employees could have done something to prevent your fall.
Use your phone to take pictures of anything that may have caused your fall. Pictures, as they say, are worth a thousand words, and will be very important if a jury needs to weigh in. Take a picture of everything you can — the floor, the area around where you fell, etc.
Witnesses can help verify your version of events. If you slip and fall in a business, see if there are other customers around who saw what happened. Get their contact information and let them know you may call them if they need to testify on your behalf. Ask them what they saw, and then ask for names, phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses.
Your attorney will contact your witnesses right away, and ask for detailed statements in writing. Witnesses can help prevent the defense from denying your claim. However, they are not a requirement for your case; even if you don’t have any third-party witnesses, you can still file a claim for recovery.
The business will most likely ask you to file an accident report for their records. Make sure to include everything you can about the fall. If you file a claim, it shows the other side that you took the slip and fall seriously when it happened.
As soon as possible after the slip and fall, write out a story of what occurred, recording every detail you can remember. Memories fade fast, so make sure to sit down and write it out as soon as you can. As you write, be sure to include the following details:
Bring this narrative to your attorney, and he or she will help you put the story together. If you’re worried about forgetting by the time you get to a pen and paper or a computer, your phone likely has a voice or video recording app you can use to ensure the memories are captured while they’re fresh. Simply locate and open the app, start a new recording, and speak the memories as they come to you. You will have plenty of time to put them to paper after you return home and begin recovering.
You want to make sure you are paid fairly for your losses, such as medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages due to any injuries you incurred from the accident. Slip and fall attorneys know that the other side will try to pay you as little as possible for those loses. That’s why if you talk to the other party’s insurance company without a lawyer, they will almost always take what you say out of context and use it against you.
Your slip and fall lawyers will handle all the negotiations with the other side to ensure that does not happen. These lawyers have years of experience handling cases like yours. They know what to do to get you the slip and fall settlements you deserve.
It is very important to follow these steps after your slip and fall in order to get a fair recovery. The sooner you work with a slip and fall attorney after your accident, the better. An experienced attorney will help you document your case, from photographs to talking to witnesses, and help you verify your story. Your slip and fall lawyer will ask the right questions to make sure your claims process flows as smoothly and positively as possible. If you, or a loved one, have been injured in a slip and fall accident and need a lawyer to represent your claim, visit our Find a Lawyer Near Me page to be connected with the best personal injury slip and fall lawyers near you.