Most of the time, a slip and fall means no more injury than our pride. We get up, dust off, have a laugh and move on. Sometimes, however, slip and fall accidents can cause debilitating or even fatal injuries.
Slip and fall accidents can happen just about anywhere. In fact, a state prison inmate in New York recently slipped and fell while mowing the prison grounds. He claimed an injury was due to the prison’s negligence. They failed to issue proper work boots, and did not instruct him to mow the wet grass.
Unfortunately, the claim was denied, as the inmate did not have sufficient evidence to prove his claim. So, what is sufficient evidence, then? if you’re injured in a slip and fall accident, how do you gather that evidence to support your claim?
Below, we’re going to cover what steps you should take after suffering a slip and fall accident, in order to gather the evidence you need should you decide to seek compensation for your injuries.
Seek NY Medical Attention
Your first priority is your safety. It is always advisable to seek medical attention immediately, even if you’re not sure whether you’re injured. Traumatic brain injuries can quickly turn deadly, and sometimes have very few symptoms before taking a turn for the worst.
Seeking medical attention after your slip and fall injury is also one of the most important things you can do to support a future liability claim. This simple act attests to the severity of your injuries, and going to the doctor right away prevents the defendant from claiming that your injuries were sustained in a later incident.
Keep a copy of any and all medical records and bills related to your slip and fall accident. They are important in establishing the severity of your injuries, and the financial damages you may need to recover.
Inspect the Scene
Inspect the scene of your slip and fall accident as soon as possible. What caused you to fall? Was there a store display in the walkway that caused you to trip? Was there water or another slippery spill on the floor?
While getting needed medical help should be your first priority, the best time to pin down the cause of a slip and fall is immediately after the accident. You can do this while you wait for help to arrive. Or you can ask a family member to take a look around. If you must, come back to the scene once you’re discharged from the hospital.
Take Photos and Identify Witnesses
Be sure to take pictures of the scene as soon as possible after the accident, too. Snap shots of the floor, the area around you, and the area that surrounds the scene of the accident.
If possible, take down witness contact information at the scene of the accident. When they are willing, getting written statements can corroborate your claim, too.
An attorney can help select the most important images and decide what accounts are most helpful later, but early on you’ll want to get as many photos and eye-witness accounts capturing as much detail as possible.
Write Things Down
Sooner than later, you must also sit down and write a time and date-stamped narrative of exactly what happened. Include every detail you can recall, even small or seemingly unimportant ones.
Your memory can fade quickly, so it’s important to do this as soon as you can after the accident. This keeps information straight, and helps your attorney understand what happened as well. If your injuries cause you pain or other symptoms, keep a journal of your condition and its progress.
Report the Incident to the NY Business or Entity Involved
Once you’ve had a chance to take care of yourself, you can turn to the entity involved. If the accident occurs at a business, a manager on duty will likely ask you to complete an accident report for their records.
Go ahead and do this, making sure that you include all vital information. Don’t embellish, but more importantly, don’t accept or place blame. Use neutral language and include as many details as possible.
The primary benefit of this report is having the complaint on file. It can stop the defendant from claiming that you didn’t take your accident seriously at the time.
Decline to Give Statements
Other than the neutral detailed account in the official accident report, limit any further communications with the property owner or manager. Do not post anything related to your accident on social media, as these actions could impact your claim in a negative way.
Additionally, decline to give a statement to any insurance company until you’ve spoken to an attorney. It’s also possible that they’ll offer a settlement, which is often less than what you deserve. You should decline until you’ve consulted a personal injury attorney.
If you’re injured in a slip and fall accident, consider seeking compensation for your losses through a slip and fall lawsuit. This can help get you on the road to recovery as quickly as possible, and hold the responsible party accountable for their negligence.