Many people will suffer injury from a fall during their lifetime. Sometimes it is just a matter of bad luck or inadvertence. Other times, it is a preventable occurrence that resulted from another person’s carelessness.
If you have suffered an injury from a slip and fall, it is vital to know what steps you should take, especially if it was not your fault.
Claims arising from this type of injury are based upon a legal doctrine known as “premises liability.” In a nutshell, a premises liability claim can entitle an injured person to be compensated if the fall was due to unsafe conditions on property owned by a third-party. Compensation can include reimbursement for medical bills, time away from work and other costs incurred as a result of the injury. Compensation may also include pain and suffering, aggravation of a pre-existing condition, disfigurement and lost enjoyment of life. Businesses and residences have a duty to ensure their property is safe. The premises may include buildings, parking lots, and walkways.
If you are injured as a result of a slip or fall on someone else’s property, you should talk to an attorney to see if filing a claim is appropriate for your situation.
Whether you decide to file a claim or are still weighing your options, here are the steps that you can take now.
When it comes to a legal claim, details are extremely important. You cannot go back in time to gather evidence or do something differently. Take the following steps immediately after your slip and fall to help build a strong legal claim, should you and your attorney decide such a claim is meritorious.
Your well-being is the top priority after a fall. If you have suffered a serious injury, such as a head or spinal injury, call 911. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
If your injuries are not an emergency, we still recommend seeing your doctor as soon as possible after the fall. A physician can properly evaluate and document your injuries. Even if you do not think your injuries warrant a trip to the doctor’s office, you should still see one in order to be sure you are ok, and to document the injury if you are not.
Medical records are important evidence if you decide to file a claim. They show the extent of your injuries from the perspective of someone qualified to make an assessment.
If your physician gives you a treatment plan, be sure to follow through with it. Seeing a doctor for initial treatment and following up with their plan of care demonstrates that you are objectively injured.
As soon as you are able, report the accident to the property owner or manager. Provide them with details about what happened. Identify the time, place and cause of the fall. This could be an uneven or unsafe surface, no lighting in a dark area, a protruding object, holes, or other sometimes hidden hazards that contributed to your fall.
Ask the property owner to write down the information that you have given them. As you talk with the individual, try to remain calm. Provide them with the details. Don’t place or accept blame. Just state the facts about the incident. If you are able to fill out an incident or accident report, be sure to do so and ask that you be permitted to retain a copy.
This step is all about collecting possible evidence in case you need it at a later date. If you don’t do it immediately, the evidence might not be there when you try to collect it later. For example, the property owner or manager might have fixed the problem to ensure that no one else falls.
Here are possible ways to document your accident:
After your initial statement for the written report, limit your communication with the property owner or manager. If you decide to later file a claim, they will share anything you have said to them with their attorney. If you limit your contact, there will be nothing to share beyond your initial report. If you are asked to give a statement.
Also, do not give a statement, taped or otherwise, to the property owner’s insurance company or attorney until you have talked to an attorney of your own. This will help ensure that you do not say anything that will jeopardize any future claim.
Do not share any details on social media. This may be tempting to do. However, anything you post on social media may be used against you in the future. It is best to avoid putting anything about the accident on any social media platform.
Even if you are unsure about taking legal action, talk with an experienced personal injury attorney.
Slip and fall cases are complex. They are also difficult to prove. By speaking with an attorney, you can find out more about the likelihood of settlement based on your specific case. You can also find out what steps need to be taken if you do decide to file a claim. Knowing what an attorney may be able to do for you can help you in deciding whether to take legal action or not.
If you decide to talk to an attorney for legal advice or to file a claim, knowing how to find the right one can seem daunting. Here are some things to consider when searching for a personal injury attorney.
Look for an attorney experienced in personal injuries, including premises liability claims and slips and falls.
Check with family and friends to see if they have a personal injury attorney to recommend. It is okay to ask how they know this person. Did they, or someone they know, work with this attorney on a personal injury claim? Or are they just a friend?
Whether you find an attorney from a referral or by searching online, check review sites to see how the attorney is rated. Read the reviews to see what others have to say. You can search Google, Lawyers.com, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to name a few places to look.
When you initially meet with the attorney and their team, go in with a list of questions you want to ask. They will be interviewing you to determine if they want to take your case. You should do the same. Interview them to make sure you feel comfortable working with their office.
Here are possible questions to ask your prospective attorney:
If you live or work in the Magic Valley or Wood River Valley and are looking for a personal injury attorney, Worst Injury Law may be able to help you with your slip and fall claim. As an affiliate of Worst & Associates, PC, Worst Injury Law has considerable experience in prosecuting personal injury claims, including slips and falls. Using our available resources, we can help investigate the cause of the fall and help you determine the next steps. If you are interested in setting up a consultation, you are welcome to send a message or call 208-736-9906.