What to Do if You Suffer a Slip and Fall Injury
Slip and falls are unexpected, disorientating, and often painful. Once the immediate shock subsides, follow these tips to understand what to do in the aftermath of an accident, both at the scene and in the days that follow.
Investigate the Surrounding AreaAfter a slip and fall, it is very common for the victim to be in a state of shock. Both mentally and physically, the impact of a fall can take the whole body by surprise. Most frequently, this is because the fall was completely unexpected. Typically the slip and fall was of no fault of the victim, so they can be blindsided by the accident.
If this is the case of your slip and fall, be sure to inspect the surrounding area for what could have been the cause. This can include any disruption to your footing or obstruction to your path as well as an object or material that simply should not have been in the walkway, stairwell, or whichever location your accident took place. Examples of obstructions include:
- Loose carpeting
- Uneven concrete or flooring
- Spilled liquid or wet floors
- Plastic, tarp, or other construction material
Photograph the SceneOnce you've identified the cause of your fall, do your best to document it. The best possible way to do this is to take photos of scene. Use any camera, even your cell phone, to photograph the disruption that caused your fall as well as the surrounding areas. This is important, because aside from capturing the obstruction itself, this process will document a lack of signage or notice of dangerous conditions that should have been present.
Moreover, it's likely that the danger will be removed or a warning posted soon after you leave the scene, so that another individual does not suffer the same fate as you. Taking pictures directly following the incident will strengthen your potential case and serve as evidence that your slip and fall was a result of another's negligence.
Identify WitnessesAny individual in the vicinity where the slip and fall occurred could be a potential witness. Speak with those who were in the surrounding area prior to leaving the scene, and be sure to collect their name and contact information, such as their address and the best phone number to reach them.
Even if an individual was not witness to the fall itself, they could potentially describe the scene and serve as witness to the conditions of the scene prior to the fall. These individuals can help describe the conditions of the floor, lighting, or any other factors that could have caused the accident.
File an Incident ReportAll too often after a slip and fall, the individual may feel too overwhelmed or even too embarrassed to file an incident report. They may blame themselves for what happened, regardless of knowing that it was of no fault of their own. If your fall occurred in a store or place of business, we urge you to fill out a slip and fall incident report and notify a manager.
Make sure that the business is well aware that the incident happened and that you were injured as a result. As opposed to talking through what happened with management or attempting to resolve it yourself, ask an employee for an incident report. If possible, make sure you receive a copy of the report as well as the contact information of the employee that assisted you.
Seek Medical AttentionAbove all, your health and wellness are the top priorities. The shock of an accident can often mask immediate pain symptoms, so whether you feel pain or not, it is crucial that you seek medical attention right away. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, 1 out of 5 slip and falls causes a serious injury. Typical injuries that result from falls can include:
- Broken bones
- Muscle sprain or strain
- Herniated Disc
Along with symptoms of weakness, numbness, muscle spasms, and localized pain, injuries that are left untreated can greatly impact health and wellness in the future, and can also result in costly medical bills - that you could be in charge of paying. In situations such as these, it's always better to err on the side of caution and be evaluated by a doctor.
Obtain Proof of all Medical Attention in WritingFrom your initial visit through the completion of treatment, if you sustained an injury due to a slip and fall, it's important to obtain all medical attention in writing. First and foremost, you'll want a professional diagnosis of any injuries initially caused by the fall. These can include injuries that are obvious to the naked eye, such as:
- Broken bones
- Cuts and abrasions
Along with a doctor's diagnosis, it is helpful to take also take photographs of your injuries. If you decide to move forward with a personal injury case, having accurate documentation of these injuries is key. However, other injuries, such as whiplash or trauma to the spinal discs, can take longer to manifest and must be documented by a doctor as well.
Keep Track of All DamagesThe injuries sustained during a slip and fall can be debilitating and require time to rest and heal. Alert your family and friends of the incident, but let your employer know as well. In the case that you need to miss work in order to heal or treat your injuries, you'll want proper documentation of missed work.
Likewise, maintain a record of any doctor's bill or treatment costs. All of the above could be listed as damages in a personal injury case, and you could be compensated for them.
Contact a Slip and Fall Injury LaywerBeing involved in a slip and fall accident can be a very troubling experience, and it's likely that you will have plenty of questions along the way. Therefore, one of the most vital steps you can take after an accident is to contact a trusted slip and fall attorney.
As you work through the incident that has left you injured, and with costly medical needs, you deserve a team of experienced, compassionate lawyers who will fight for your compensation. Healing from a slip and fall injury does not need to be done alone. Contact a trusted attorney today.