What To Do After A Slip and Fall Accident

If you slip and sprain your ankle on an unsafe floor in a market, do you know the procedures for getting compensated for your injuries? What if you’re at a movie theater and you trip on uneven carpet or a loose stair — and the theater’s owner says it’s your fault and is not responsible for your injuries?

Slip and fall” accidents are common, with over one million people suffering injuries from such accidents every year. Slip and falls are the number one accident in stores, hotels, restaurants, theaters and office buildings, and are the leading cause of accidental death and disability after car accidents. Knowing what to do — and not do — after a slip and fall accident can help you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries. It can also speed up the process of recovering damages and help you return to good health as soon as possible.

When You Can Recover Damages
Under the old rule, which still exists in some states, a landowner’s duty of care is based on why the injured person came on the property. For an “invitee” (someone invited to the property, like a business customer), the landowner has a duty to actively inspect for dangers and fix them. For “licensees,” which are generally considered social guests, a landowner has a duty to take reasonable care to prevent injuries, but doesn’t have to look for unknown hazards. Another type of visitor is a trespasser, someone not authorized to be on the property. Landowners generally aren’t required to protect trespassers from injuries, but they cannot intentionally injure them.

Today, most states ignore these distinctions and impose on landowners one duty — to keep their premises safe for customers and others. Under this rule, a business that knew or should have known about dangers and did not fix them can usually be held liable for injuries that occur.

For example, suppose you slip on a wet spot in a market. Whether you can recover damages generally depends on how long the floor was wet and what employees knew and did. If the floor was wet for a while and employees knew about it but did nothing, you can likely recover damages. But if the floor became wet just before you slipped, recovering damages may be harder.

Steps To Take To Protect Yourself
When injuries happen at a store, shopping mall, office building, theater, restaurant or other public place, business owners often take steps to protect themselves and limit their liability. Employees often try to get accident victims to admit they were careless or otherwise at fault, and then have them sign statements to this effect.

If you are in a slip and fall accident at a business’s or someone else’s property, do not sign anything — or say anything — without first speaking to your lawyer. Report the accident to the owner or manager immediately, but remember that you are not legally required to answer any questions. You should know your rights before resolving your claim. Your lawyer is the best person to explain all of your legal rights.

There are several things you should do right after the accident. Obtain the names, addresses and phone numbers of witnesses. Make notes on where the accident occurred and what caused it. If there is physical evidence (like an object that caused the fall), save it. If possible, take photos of the accident scene as well as any visible injuries, like cuts and bruises.

You should also be examined by a doctor, even if you think you were not hurt very badly. Some serious injuries are not readily apparent, and a doctor can prevent minor injuries from becoming severe problems. Also, if you do not see a doctor, this sends a message to the other side that you were not hurt as badly as you claimed to be.

You should also call our law firm. Calling us as soon after the accident as possible makes it easier to conduct a proper investigation, including finding evidence and interviewing witnesses. The longer you wait after the accident to get legal help, the harder it can be to obtain evidence and the more likely witnesses will move or forget details about the accident. Seeking legal help promptly is also important because there are time limits for bringing claims. If these time limits are not followed you may lose your claim, even if it’s valid.

Damages You Can Recover
There are many different types of damages you can recover if you are injured in a slip and fall accident. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to recover for past and future medical bills, past and future lost wages, pain and suffering, and money for disfigurement and scarring.

Slip and fall accidents can cause serious injuries resulting in large medical bills and lost wages. If you are in a slip and fall accident, we can evaluate the facts and tell you if your claim is strong as well as how much compensation you may recover.

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