What to Do Immediately After a Slip & Fall Accident
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In the immediate aftermath of a slip and fall, injured parties are usually flustered, possibly injured, and likely frazzled. But maintaining composure in the immediate aftermath of a slip and fall can actually be helpful with regard to future litigation. An injured party’s observations of the immediate area, any help that was offered at the scene, or any statements made by someone in possession and/or control of the property, can mean the difference in the outcome of a slip and fall lawsuit.
Inspect the Immediate Area
Immediately after a slip and fall, inspect the area where the fall occurred. What caused you the fall? Did anyone see the fall? Was the floor dirty? Was there a crack in the concrete? Was there ice? All of this information is essential to creating a complete picture of the incident. Property conditions can often be altered after a slip and fall accident. An impression of the condition of the property as it was when the slip and fall occurred is a key piece of information when negotiating a settlement or arguing a case in front of a jury. If at all possible, pictures should be taken immediately; in the age of smart phones, obtaining instant pictures and video is both common and a good idea.
Obtain Witness Contact Information
Once the locale of the fall has been recorded (mentally or otherwise), the next priority should be to obtain contact information from any and all witnesses. While people tend to avoid getting to involved in accidents, it’s an important step to at least try to get witness information, particularly in the case of a slip and fall in a public location such as a store. Store owners and/or managers will undoubtedly collect the same information, so a slip and fall victim will be at a disadvantage if they do not. Write down the names, addresses and phone numbers of anyone in the vicinity where the incident occurred – both those who saw the fall, and others who were there after the incident. Even if a fall was unseen, witnesses could, if necessary, describe the pain the victim felt after the fall and the conditions of the floor, lighting, etc. immediately after the fall.
Make a Record of the Incident
If the incident occurred in a store or place of business, speak with the manager or supervisor on duty. Have them make a record of the incident and be sure to obtain a copy of this record. If anyone (especially an employee, supervisor or manager) makes a comment suggesting that this has occurred before, or that they were aware of a condition causing the fall before the fall, make a mental note. Try to get the name of the person who made any such comment. As soon as possible, write down the name and what exactly the person said, and who else may have heard him or her make the statement.
Contact a Legal Representative
Slip and fall accidents are unfortunate regardless of how or where they occur, and very often they are the cause of serious injuries. In any slip and fall situation, tend to any immediate injuries and then obtain as much information as possible. If and when a lawyer becomes involved, that information could make or break a case. Contact a local slip and fall attorney for more information on what to do in the case of a slip and fall accident.
For Additional Reading See Articles on:
- What to Know About Slip and Fall Accidents
- Slip and Fall Accident Lawsuits
- Proving a Property Owner is Responsible for Slip and Fall Damages