Slip and fall accidents are almost always unexpected. If there was advance warning, you wouldn’t slip on a hazard in the first place. There’s no practical way to prepare for a fall, which may account for their incredible prevalence. According to the National Safety Council, around 8.9 million people visit emergency rooms seeking treatment for fall-related injuries every year.
How To Build A Strong Slip & Fall Premises Liability Case
Fortunately, you can prepare for the aftermath right now. How you handle the moments and days directly after a slip, trip and fall accident is absolutely crucial. Successful insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits are built on post-fall best practices, which include thorough documentation and record keeping.
The next time you enter a New York City business or real-estate property, keep the following steps in mind. You never know when the next fall will happen, but our tips could keep you happier, and healthier, in the long run.
1. Seek Medical Attention
Whether you feel fine or you’re actively injured, our first step will be the same: contact the authorities.
If you’re not in danger, call an ambulance and request the services of a paramedic. Obviously, your long-term health is the first priority. If you need help, get it. But many common slip and fall injuries, like lower back trauma, only present symptoms after a period of time. The effects of your accident might not be apparent right away, but that doesn’t mean that real damage isn’t lurking in the future. Pain-free or not, let a medical professional look you over.
2. Documentation Is Key
Seeking immediate care has another function, too. The reports that police officers and medical professionals write operate kind of like evidence. An indifferent, third-party professional comes in and gives their opinion on your situation. Most insurance companies will demand proof that you sought help. If you weren’t worried enough about your health to see a doctor, why should they pay for anything?
If you seek the counsel of a personal injury lawyer, thorough medical reports will help them determine the precise nature of your injuries and indicate how much compensation to pursue.
3. The Right Evidence Can Win A Claim
If you’re not severely injured, document the accident scene while you’re waiting for the EMTs to arrive. What are you looking for? First, speak with any witnesses because they might have to leave. What are their names, addresses, and phone numbers? A professional accident investigator may need to follow up later. Did any store employees see you fall? Make sure to get their contact information, too. Even those who didn’t watch you slip may have been aware of the hazard beforehand.
Record the exact date, time, and location. Make note of your clothing, especially shoes. You’ll need to keep these unchanged if you choose to pursue a slip and fall lawsuit. That sticky substance on the sole? Might be the key to your accident claim.
Now use your cell phone to photograph the place where you fell. Focus in on the conditions that caused your fall. If you can’t take pictures right now, write a thorough description of the hazard.
After you’ve documented the scene, report your accident to the property owner or store manager. Request their property insurance information. But be aware: your words here are precious, and can be used against you. Don’t give them a lengthy statement; just make sure that they know the basics about what happened.
4. Contact A Slip & Fall Lawyer In New York City
In New York State, the statute of limitation for a slip and fall claim is three years. After three years, you’re out of luck. While that might sound like a long time, it’s actually misleading. In fact, cases of personal injury, and specifically slip and fall accidents, should be investigated immediately. Evidence is only evidence when it’s lying on the floor. One quick clean-up and the proof of your incident could be gone. And while surveillance cameras are common, they are by no means legally required.
If you suspect that a property owner’s negligence led to your injury, contact the personal injury lawyers at Banville Law today. Not sure about the negligence part? Read our FAQ here for a simple guide to figuring the concept out.