01 Apr What to do after a slip and fall…
After a slip and fall, it is normal to be embarrassed and shocked. Your first instinct may be to jump up as quickly possible and leave. From a legal perspective, these instincts are to be avoided.
In the moments after a slip and fall, the following steps should be followed:
- Evaluate the Situation – If you have fallen, you should pause and remain seated while you evaluate the situation. Try to determine why you have fallen, and assess your injuries.
- Obtain Assistance – If you are injured, wait for assistance from passersby, employees or medical attendants. This assistance is not only important for your personal safety and well-being, but the individuals that provide the assistance may also be important witnesses later on. Such assistance may also provide the basis for incident reports that will be filled out and provided to insurers and their lawyers.
- Report the Incident – Be sure to report the incident to the owner of the premises or their employees. If the incident is not reported, it may be difficult to prove that it actually happened.
- Photograph the Situation – If possible, take photographs of the hazard that caused you to fall, as well as the surrounding area. After a fall, the first thing that an owner will often do is remove the hazard. Once the hazard has been removed, its existence becomes difficult to prove. You may also want to inquire with the owner as to whether there is surveillance footage of the incident. If you can obtain this admission at an early stage, it can be used against the owner later on if they try to bury such evidence.
- Obtain Witness Information – If anybody observed the fall, obtain their full name and contact information (including telephone number and email if possible). Photograph their business card or driver’s license if that is an option.
- Consult a Lawyer – After a fall has been reported, you may be contacted by the owner of the premises or their insurance company. What is said during these early communications may have a profound impact on the outcome of your case. It is critical to at least consult with a lawyer to determine what your legal rights are, and to understand how best to approach early communications with the owner or their insurer.