What to Do After a Slip and Fall Accident
Slip and fall accidents are incredibly common and are a type of accident that can easily happen to anyone. Since slip and falls are so common, sometimes people try to dismiss them as minor incidents, but for many people, they’re nothing to take lightly. Slip and fall accidents are the top cause of emergency room visits for children under 10 and adults over 65. Although many slip and fall accidents result in minor injuries that people can easily bounce back from, they can also cause serious back problems, head and neck injuries, or break or fracture bones.
Right after a slip and fall accident, the most important things to do are get medical attention and try to document as much as you possibly can about the scene of the accident at the time the accident happened. Seeking medical attention is important for obvious reasons, but it also shows that you’re taking the accident seriously and will give you an official record of injuries that were a result of the accident.
Take pictures of the area where the accident occurred right away. In many cases, the person in charge of maintaining a property could potentially clean up the scene of an accident very quickly. Snowy and icy sidewalks can be cleared and salted and spilled liquids can be mopped up. If you don’t have proof of how the area looked at the time and the other person has pictures taken shortly after an accident showing a clear, dry area, it might be difficult to prove the area was dangerous at the time of the accident.
Be sure to report the accident to the homeowner, property manager, landlord, store manager, or other person in charge of the premises right away. If you are able to make an accident report, do so right way and try to get a copy of it before leaving the scene of the accident. If your need for medical attention is so urgent you aren’t able to verify an accident report has been taken before leaving the premises, contact the person in charge of the property as soon as you are able to to see if one has been taken.
As with any accident that results in an injury, it’s important to keep a written record of everything pertaining to the accident. Before leaving the area, get the names and contact information for any witnesses who saw the accident. If the accident takes place in a store or other commercial business, take note of the names of any employees you talk to at the scene and what they say to you. Keep a record of all your doctor visits, any time you had to miss from work, and notes about how your injuries impact your life. If possible, keep the clothes you were wearing at the time of the accident, particularly your shoes, in a safe place and in the same condition they were in immediately following the accident.
If you are interested in pursuing a lawsuit over a slip and fall accident, it is important to prove one at least one of three things: the person responsible for maintaining a property caused the hazard, the person in charge of the property was aware of the hazard and failed to remedy the situation, or that the hazard existed long enough that the person in charge of the property would have had a reasonable amount of time to become aware of and fix the problem. Property owners are generally not held liable for accidents caused by hazards they either didn’t know about or that formed so recently they couldn’t have possibly had a chance to fix them.