Slip and fall accidents happen every day. Puddles and slick surfaces, uneven floors, and broken stairs can all cause a serious accident. Many slip and fall accidents happen outside the home in restaurants, stores, and public venues. When you’re injured because of a slip and fall, you may have the right to file a lawsuit against the property owner or manager. However, you may not realize that the things you do immediately after your accident can affect your case.
A slip and fall can cause serious and devastating injuries. You need to make sure that your personal injury case is as strong as it can possibly be. Here are the 8 things you need to do to protect yourself and your legal claim after a slip and fall.
1. Get Medical Help
Every slip and fall accident is different. The injuries you sustain will not only depend on the circumstances of your fall, but also your age and overall health. Some injuries may not be evident right away. Left untreated, these injuries can get worse over time and become a serious threat to your health. Seeing a doctor as soon as possible after your fall will help to ensure that all injuries are promptly identified and treated. Any records generated by your visit will be helpful in establishing a link between your injuries and the fall.
2. Call the Police
Call the police to report the accident, even if you don’t think your injuries are too severe. An officer will come to the scene and help you document the situation. They’ll interview you, the property owner, and anyone who may have witnessed your fall. The officer will also look for any obvious hazards or code violations that may have contributed to the accident. Any information gathered by the police will be written down in a formal report. This police report can be incredibly helpful if you decide to file a lawsuit or insurance claim in the future.
3. Take Photographs of the Scene and Your Injuries
Photographs can be persuasive and powerful evidence in a slip and fall case. You certainly have the right to document your accident with photos and videos. Take pictures of where you fell. Include hazards or conditions that may have been a factor in your role. It can’t hurt to take more photos than you think you need, even if you’re not entirely sure what you’re looking for. Your attorney can use those photos to get a better understanding of your slip and fall accident. If necessary, experts can be called in to analyze the pictures and provide insight that could really help your case.
4. Gather Evidence
Consider tracking down any evidence that may be helpful in your pursuit for compensation, including:
- Video surveillance footage
- History of code violations or previous accidents
- Medical records
- Medical bills, and
- Proof of lost wages.
5. Find and Speak With Witnesses
Was anyone else present when you slipped and fell? If so, you may want to consider getting their name and contact information. Eyewitness testimony can be very helpful if you decide to file an insurance claim or lawsuit. Witnesses can help to clear up disputes and provide an outside perspective about what happened.
6. Keep a Journal
Any unexpected accident can disrupt your life. You may be struggling with very painful injuries and trying as hard as you can to get back on your feet. This may make it very difficult to keep things straight and remember the details of your accident. Try keeping a journal or notebook and writing everything down.
Write a detailed description of your memory of the fall. Include details about the premises and any factors that may have contributed to the incident. Jot down any information you remember after the fact. Keep a list of witnesses and people you’ve spoken with after the fall. Your journal can help to jog your memory in the future and also provide your attorney with information that may be crucial to your case.
7. Choose Your Words Wisely
You may be approached by an insurance company after your slip and fall accident. Adjusters will probably want you to provide a statement and gather some basic information. Choose your words carefully. Provide only the information that’s requested, but don’t expand with unnecessary details. Insurance companies will not be eager to pay you for your injuries. In fact, they’ll do whatever they can to prevent you from getting the money you deserve. Adjusters will document everything you say and eventually try to use those words against you.
Here’s the best rule of thumb: stick to the facts. Don’t provide opinions, feelings, or assumptions. These can be manipulated and presented out of context. Let your attorney do the heavy lifting and negotiating with an insurance company. You’re much more likely to get the compensation you deserve.
8. Speak With an Attorney
Property owners will not want to take responsibility for your injuries. In fact, they may even try to blame you for your injuries. You can protect yourself by hiring an experienced Los Angeles premises liability attorney to handle your case. Your attorney will carefully investigate your case, handle negotiations with insurance companies, and fight to get you the money you deserve. Your attorney will be your advocate and protect you from any attempts to limit your financial recovery.
Have you been injured in a slip and fall in Los Angeles? Contact Glotzer & Leib, LLP for immediate legal assistance. Our personal injury attorneys are here to help you fight for the money you need after your accident. Call today to learn more.