According to a report by the National Floor Safety Institute, over one million visits made each year to hospital emergency rooms are due to slip or trip and fall accidents. This makes up around 12% of all ER visits. While the majority of slip and fall accidents are not fatal, they can lead to some serious injuries resulting in significant medical bills and lost wages. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are also the leading cause of both injuries and fatalities in people aged 65 and above.
If you were not at fault and have experienced a slip or trip and fall accident, then knowing what to do in the aftermath of the accident, and whether or not you should hire legal representation, could help you get the compensation that you may be entitled to as a result of the accident.
What to Do Directly After a Trip and Fall Accident
After slipping and falling, the first thing you should do is determine whether or not you need to get emergency medical attention. If you are on the scene when somebody else slips and falls, it might be up to you to decide if you need to call an ambulance for them. For example, hitting your head and losing consciousness, even if consciousness is gained quickly afterwards, could be a sign of a more serious head or brain injury, so getting to hospital is important. This applies no matter where the slip and fall accident occurs.
Even in the case of a slip and fall injury that is not so serious, getting checked out by a medical professional as soon as possible is always recommended. This is because there are some cases where injuries might not be immediately obvious. Along with this, getting the accident on your medical records on the same day, or at least as soon as possible after the accident occurred, can strengthen a future personal injury claim.
Steps to Take After a Slip/Trip and Fall Accident at a Business
A slip and fall in a commercial establishment can lead debilitating injuries, pain, anger and embarrassment. As in any other slip and fall situation, the first thing to do here is determine whether or not you or the person who has experienced the accident, requires urgent medical care. Wherever immediate emergency medical care is not necessary, follow these steps:
Report the Accident
The accident should be reported to the appropriate member of staff such as the store owner or manager. They will then have a policy that they will need to follow with you, which usually involves documenting what happened.
Document What Happened
Remember that the person you report the accident to will not be on your side in a personal injury claim. Because of this, you should always make your own documentation of what happened. If you can, take a photo of whatever has caused the accident. Take photos of the area you fell. Those photos may show that there were no caution signs, or floor mats. Photos like this can prove to be invaluable in a slip and fall case.
Look for Witnesses
Ask around to see if there was anybody there at the time who saw your accident happen or who saw the spill or dangerous condition before you fell. Get their contact information from them including their name, phone number, email and address. Even if they did not see the accident happen, being a witness to the aftermath, or seeing your injuries can be helpful.
Get a Copy of the Report Form
As part of the documentation of the accident that is carried out by the manager or store owner, you will usually need to fill out an incident or accident report form. This is a good way to make sure that all the facts of the accident are recorded. Once the form has been finished and filled out by both you and the manager, ask to get a copy of it or take a photo of it.
Get CCTV Footage
It can be worth noting if there is a CCTV camera covering the accident site. Take a photo of the video camera and let your lawyer know about it as soon as possible, so that they can get the footage of the accident occurring.
Get Medical Attention
If emergency medical attention was not needed, you should still see a doctor as soon as possible. This will help you rule out any more serious injuries that you might have missed at the time due to the shock and adrenalin. And the doctor will ensure that everything is included in your medical notes. Be sure to follow any instructions for recovery that you are given by your doctor.
Preserve Physical Evidence
Keep anything that might be used as physical evidence to support your case, such as the clothes and shoes you were wearing when the accident happened.
Record Your Feelings
A journal of how you are feeling each day can be very supportive for your personal injury case. It can take some time for the lawsuit to be processed, so writing down how you feel can be a great way to present the impact of the accident on you, even if by the time you go to court, you’ve fully recovered.
Should You Hire an Attorney After a Slip and Fall Accident?
While knowing what to do after a slip and fall accident can help to strengthen your claim, hiring an attorney is the best step that you can take after slipping and falling. They will be able to provide you with the best advice tailored to your situation and ensure that you do all the right things in the aftermath of the accident to improve your chance of getting the compensation you deserve. They can liaise with the establishment where your accident occurred, gather evidence, and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, while you focus on recovering from your injuries.
At Karns & Karns Injury & Accident Attorneys, we know how frustrating it can be to slip and fall in an establishment that you trusted to keep you safe. Slip and fall injuries, even when not very serious, can lead to a loss of income, medical bills, and painful injuries. If you have slipped and fallen, get in touch today at 877-557-4221 to discuss how we can help you win your case.