No one expects you to try to be a lawyer in your slip and fall case. In fact, an experienced slip and fall attorney would tell you that this is an extremely bad idea that could hurt your case. However, there are steps you can take soon after your accident that can help you obtain a more favorable settlement with the insurance company for the business or property owner who caused your fall.
Steps to Take to Increase Your Chances of Obtaining the Compensation You Deserve for Your Injuries
The steps you take after your fall can have an impact on the amount of the compensation you receive down the road from your settlement. If possible, you want to take these steps after your accident:
- Seek medical care. While obtaining medical care is something you obviously want to do if you are injured, you want to see a doctor if you do not think your injuries are severe or you do not feel hurt. That is because you must document your injuries if you make a claim for compensation. Seeking medical treatment right after the fall shows the link between the accident and your injuries—something you must prove. In addition, some injuries worsen or develop into problems days or weeks after your fall.
- Make an incident report. Just like you need to document your injuries, you also must prove that you had a slip and fall accident. Some negligent business or property owners will not even admit your accident happened. Making an incident report right after your fall is the way to establish your accident occurred. Obtain a copy of this report for your attorney.
- Take photographs. You want to take photographs of the scene of the accident, what caused your fall, such as spilled liquids or cracked flooring, and your injuries. If possible, go back to the scene the day after your fall to be certain you didn’t miss anything before a defect is repaired.
- Obtain contact information. Obtain the contact information for the business or property owner, his insurance company, and any witnesses to your fall. Witnesses could be crucial to showing how the accident happened and may have pictures that could be helpful if you were too injured to take them.
- Save your clothes. Save the clothes you were wearing when you were hurt. Your clothes can be powerful evidence to show you were injured if they are torn or bloodied. In addition, having proof of what you were wearing could defeat an insurance adjuster’s claim that your clothes somehow contributed to your fall.
- Preserve evidence. You want to preserve all evidence that could help your case, such as the accident report, witness statements, pictures, medical bills, and documentation of your wages. Some evidence—such as store surveillance tapes—need to be obtained quickly before they are taped over.
- Stay off social media. You do not want to talk about your accident and injuries to anyone other than your attorney. This especially means not to discuss your accident on social media. Insurance adjusters and attorneys routinely search social media sites to see if you said inconsistent things about your fall or you can perform activities you claim you are too hurt to do.
- Don’t give a recorded statement. Do not give a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster for the negligent party without obtaining advice from an attorney first. You could say something you didn’t mean to say or have your words twisted and used against you.
- Don’t sign documents. You do not want to sign any documents—including a medical release of information or settlement release—without having an attorney review them first. You could be giving up important rights.
The Most Important Step: Hiring an Experienced Slip and Fall Attorney
One of the most important first steps you can take is to hire an experienced slip and fall attorney as soon as possible after your accident. He can advise you on the steps to take, investigate the accident and preserve evidence, and negotiate with the insurance company for you.
What happens if you did not take these steps or already made a mistake? If your attorney has handled a lot of slip and fall cases and has a good track record of success, he will know how to deal with most mistakes you could have made or help you with steps you did not take after your fall.
If you or a family member was hurt in a slip and fall accident, I urge you to call our toll free number at 877-401-6689 to schedule a free consultation with me.