Posted on behalf of Stephens, Anderson & Cummings on Sep 14, 2017 in Slip & Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents can cause serious injuries that can result in costly medical expenses and lost wages during the course of your recovery.
Property owners have a legal obligation to maintain their properties in a way that ensures the safety of all visiting guests or invitees. If a property owner is aware, or should be aware, of a hazard located on the property, he or she has a duty to fix the hazard or warn other of its existence.
If a property owner’s failure to uphold this standard caused you to suffer an injury by slipping and falling over a hazard, you may be entitled to compensation for your injury and loss. However, in order to secure your claim, there are several important steps you must take after the accident to prove the property owner’s negligence was the cause of your injury.
The Fort Worth personal injury attorneys at Stephens, Anderson & Cummings encourage you to follow the steps below after a slip and fall accident to protect your claim. Do not hesitate to contact us now if you need assistance with your case.
1. Seek Medical Attention Right Away
Although a slip and fall accident is a serious threat to your health, you may not appear to have suffered an obvious injury immediately following the incident.
Many injuries have delayed symptoms that may not appear for several days after the accident, and foregoing medical treatment can put your health in danger. Seeking medical care after the accident ensures that your injuries are properly diagnosed and treated.
Additionally, neglecting to seek medical treatment may work against you when you pursue a claim for compensation. During your initial examination with a medical professional, he or she will assess your injury and document its cause to show that it was directly caused by your slip and fall accident and is not a preexisting condition. This will be important for proving the cause of your injuries.
2. File an Accident Report
You should always file an accident report after a slip and fall accident, regardless of whether the incident happened in a business, private residence or on a sidewalk.
Immediately report the slip and fall accident to the manager of the business, landlord of the building or the owner of a private residence.
Provide the property’s owner or manager with the basics of what occurred so that he or she is aware of the accident and that you were injured on the property. Also, request that the property owner or manager to make a written accident report of the incident and provide you with a copy of the statement for your records.
3. Document the Incident
After your slip and fall accident, it is important that you document the accident as best as possible. This should include pictures or video of the accident scene that capture the conditions that contributed to your fall, such as:
- Collected patches of water, snow or ice on floors or walkways
- Wet or damp floors
- Uneven or jagged pavement on a sidewalk or walkway
- Loose tiles on the floor
- Torn, worn or bulging areas of carpet or rug
- Loose wires, cords or ropes that could trip you
- Debris, such as trash, paper or dirt on floors or stairs
- Excessively waxed or polished areas on the floor or stairs
The property’s owner, manager or caretaker should provide some sort of warning to alert others of a dangerous condition that could potentially cause them harm. This could be a caution sign over a wet surface or a sectioned off area around a broken sidewalk. Be sure to document any lack of visible warnings in the area that your slip and fall accident occurred.
Also, write down your memory of the events that took place leading up to and after the fall. Having detailed notes of your version of events may help your attorney decide how to pursue your case.
If there were any witnesses to your slip and fall accident or others who were present in the area and can testify that a hazard existed, ask to collect their names and contact information.
These witnesses may be valuable to your case and can testify to the conditions that contributed to the fall that caused your injury.
4. Do Not Give a Statement to an Insurer
Once you have received medical treatment, file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. However, do not agree to provide a recorded or written statement if the insurer requests one.
A statement with an insurance adjuster is considered to be your official version of the events that occurred during the accident. The adjuster assigned to your claim may attempt to solicit responses that downplay the extent of your injuries. He or she can then use these manipulated responses to justify lowering a settlement offer for your claim.
If an insurer asks you to make an official or recorded statement, decline the request until you have consulted with a qualified attorney. Our lawyers will directly communicate with an insurer to prevent it from affecting the outcome of your claim and will advise you on how to handle an insurance company.
Also, do not discuss your accident publicly or make statements about the situation on social media, or post photos of your injury. Public statements about your injury could be used against you by insurers looking to reduce your settlement.
Contact a Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer Now
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, do not hesitate to take action to secure your claim. Although your main focus should be on recovering from your injury, you should be diligent in collecting any relevant information that your attorney can use to build a case.
Our attorneys are ready to provide you with a free, no obligation consultation today to help you determine your legal options for recovering compensation after a slip and fall injury. All of our services are provided on a contingency fee basis, which means we do not charge any upfront legal fees and you only have to pay use if we recover compensation for your claim.