When you are hurt in an accident at a business or other property, you want to do everything you can to increase the likelihood that you will be fully compensated for your injuries. One first important step is filing an accident report with the owner or manager of the property. Doing this can strengthen your claim and eliminate some of the disputes you may have with the negligent party’s insurance company.
Why an Accident Report Is Important to Your Claim
You want to make a report right away after your accident if possible. If you are too injured to do so, a friend or family member could do it for you. Even if you do not believe that you were injured or suffered only “minor” injuries, you want to report your accident. This will make it easier to resolve your claim with the insurance company if you later decide to file a claim. Here’s how this report can strength your right to compensation:
- Documentation. An accident report documents that your accident in fact happened. If you do not file the report, the insurance company might argue that it did not occur or that your injuries were caused due to another incident.
- Preservation of information. Your accident report will contain important information, such as contact information for the business or property owner and witnesses. It will also contain details concerning your accident.
- Credibility. Making an accident report helps establish your credibility and the seriousness of what occurred. If you fail to make a report, the insurance adjuster or jury could think that the accident or your injuries were not really that serious or you would have notified the owner.
Who Should You File Your Report With?
Who you will file your accident report with will depend on the type of property you were at when you hurt yourself. This could include the following:
- If you were injured on private property, you would file your report with the homeowner, landlord, or renter.
- When your accident occurs on a commercial property, you would contact the property owner, owner or manager of the facility or business, or store manager.
- You may need to report an accident on government property to an on-site manager or an administrator for the governmental agency.
What Information Should Your Accident Report Contain?
If you fall at a commercial property, such as a mall or grocery store, a business, or governmental property, they may have an accident report form for you to complete. If you do complete this report, be sure to get a copy of it for your records. However, if they do not provide you with a form or you were injured on private property, you may need to write out your own report. Here’s important information to include:
- Inform the party of the accident. You should notify the party that an accident occurred. You should state the date, time, and place where it occurred and that you were the victim.
- State you were injured. You can inform them that you were injured, but should not go into the details of your injuries. Since your accident just happened, you may not even know how hurt you are.
- Do not state fault. In your report, you do not need to discuss their fault in causing your accident or anything about being compensated. You just want to notify the negligent party of what occurred.
- Request a response. Ask that the party provide you with an acknowledgement that they received your accident report. In addition, you should keep a copy of the report for your records.
After you seek medical care, your next important step should be to hire an experienced premises liability attorney. An attorney can take over the communications with the negligent party and its insurance company and negotiate your settlement. If you contact him right away he can visit the accident scene before the unsafe condition is corrected.
Was a family member injured in a slip and fall accident? Were you hurt in a slip and fall or other premises liability accident? Fill out our online form today to schedule your free consultation to learn how Brauns Law can help you obtain the compensation you may be entitled to.