Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer Explains What To Do if You Fall Down and Get Hurt
Simply because you trip or slip and fall down in a supermarket, department store or in someone’s home, does not mean the store owner or home owner must pay you for your injuries. Although property owners have a “duty of care” to make sure that their property is safe, they are not a guarantor of your safety. It isn’t enough to establish that there was a dangerous or defective condition on the property which caused the fall, that’s relatively easy. The more difficult issue, in order to establish liability, is to show that the property owner (or possessor) knew about the defect before your fall or should have known about it because the dangerous or defective condition existed on the property for a long enough time for them to have discovered it. Establishing liability involves a review of business records and analysis of the actual slip area itself. It sometimes even requires retaining an expert such as an engineer to help prove that the condition of the floor was dangerous or defective. An experienced slip and fall lawyer can inform you of local laws that may apply, and can offer a quick assessment of the validity of your claim.
Many slip and fall accidents also focus on the conduct of the person who fell. The most common argument made by the defense is that the injured person was not watching where they were going or that there were warning cones or wet floor signs. Here is what you need to do if you have fallen:
- Try to determine why you fell. Without a definite cause or reason for your fall, there may be little or no basis for your claim.
- Don’t jump up or get up right away. Have someone help you up.
- Call the police and paramedics if necessary.
- Gather Evidence. Obtain names, addresses, and phone numbers of witnesses right away. They may need to leave the scene and go about their business. Include the names of store employees who witnessed the fall, the dangerous condition, or to whom you spoke after the fall.
- Use a cell phone or disposable camera to photograph the accident scene and especially the “dangerous condition” that caused you to fall. If you cannot photograph the condition, take notes about its size, shape, color, and location.
- Make sure you report the fall and the dangerous condition to the landowner or possessor, store manager, etc., but do not give an extensive statement until you have spoken with a slip and fall accident lawyer.
- Take notes as soon as possible after the fall on what happened for your lawyer about how the accident occurred, including the condition that made you fall, the date and time of the fall, location of the fall, names of witnesses, names of the persons to whom you reported the accident to, names of the property owner and their insurance information, weather conditions, and what you were wearing at the time, particularly your shoes. Keep all clothing or other physical evidence which confirms the accident.
- Promptly seek medical attention if you are injured. Delays in seeking medical care can negatively effect your case. An emergency room can provide an immediate evaluation and diagnostic tests such as x-rays. Alternatively, see your family doctor. Either way, be sure to tell any medical personnel all of the physical complaints you are having and why you fell. Don’t leave any complaints unmentioned, even if they are minor! Also be sure to photograph any visible injuries immediately, such as bruises, scrapes, broken bones, etc. Always remember that a picture is worth a thousand words!
- Contact a slip and fall accident lawyer to Protect Your Rights. You should not delay in speaking with a lawyer after an accident, no matter how minor the accident may be. A successful case must be investigated immediately. Evidence must be preserved. Additionally, the law provides certain time limitations in which action must be taken. If the required action is not taken within that time, your case will be lost forever!