Groups » Seven Tips for Winning Your Slip-and-Fall Injury Claim

Most industrial accidents and workplace injuries involve slipping and tripping. These accidents may lead to fractures, head trauma, spinal cord injuries, disabilities, and even death. Statistics show that over one million people suffer from a slip-and-fall injury every year in the United States. In fact, slips and falls account for nearly 15 percent of all accidental deaths.

Slip-and-fall claims can be quite complicated, not to mention expensive and time-consuming. Proving liability of the owner/manager of the property where the accident occurred can be difficult. However, taking a few precautions before filing a lawsuit can increase your chances of getting maximum compensation.

The following seven tips can help you file a successful lawsuit:

1. Get Medical Treatment Immediately

Get medical attention immediately, even if you think that your injuries aren’t serious. Consult with your personal physician to have them evaluated. Get X-rays and MRI scans as soon as possible. Inconsistent medical records can weaken your claim. So, make sure to explain the circumstances that led to your injuries to the medical provider.

Delaying medical treatment can potentially reduce the value of your claim. Follow through on your treatment without fail. Failing to do so may result in a worsening of your injuries. Delays and gaps in medical treatment often strengthen the defendant’s argument that your injuries aren’t as serious as you are claiming. Medical evidence plays a crucial role in the outcome of your slip-and-fall claim, so make sure to collect and document all medical records, test reports, prescriptions, and medical bills.

2. Determine the Cause of Your Fall

Every property owner/manager has the duty to keep their premises clear of hazardous conditions that may lead to slips and falls. The premises liability law clearly states that they should repair such conditions or give adequate warning to their customers or guests.

Proving premises liability of the owner/operator is key to winning a slip-and-fall claim. So, determine whether or not their negligence was responsible for your fall. For example, if the floor was wet, find out what caused the spill and how long the floor had been wet. Did the owner/operator know about the spill? Did they adequately warn people about it?

3. Take Photographs of the Scene

Be sure to take pictures of the exact location where you fell. If your injuries are too serious to do it yourself, ask a trusted friend or family member to take them. Try to do this immediately after the accident because property owners/managers are more likely to clean or repair the hazardous conditions that led to your fall.

Don’t hesitate to take pictures of your injuries and blood-stained clothing. These photos will help you determine the extent of your injuries. Lawyers may depend on these photos for a firsthand evaluation of your case, as well.

4. Collect Witness Information

If there were any witnesses to your fall, make sure to collect their information – such as names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. If possible, get a recorded statement from each of them as soon as possible.

Alternatively, you can hand over their contact information to your lawyer, who can speak with them directly about the accident. If the accident occurred on a commercial property having electronic surveillance, you can request a copy of the CCTV footage from the store manager.

5. Report the Incident to the Owner or Manager of the Premises

Don't leave the scene of your fall until you have notified the owner/manager of the premises about it. You can ask a friend or a family member to report the accident if your injuries are too serious to do it yourself. But, it is necessary to file the report as soon as possible after the fall.

Most property owners/managers will take a report of the incident without any bickering. However, make sure to get a copy of the report before leaving the premises. Technically, you are not required to report a slip-and-fall. But, not reporting the incident will significantly lower your compensation. Besides, defendants often question the legitimacy of a slip-and-fall claim that was not reported, especially if there were no witnesses.

6. Preserve Footwear and Clothing Worn at the Time

The footwear that you were wearing at the time of the accident can be a crucial piece of evidence. The defense may request the court to test your shoes for slip resistance. It is not a common procedure. But, the defense may use this trick if the stakes are high enough. Preserve your shoes in a sealed plastic bag or container. You can also take pictures of your footwear, as they may help preserve important evidence.

You may also need to preserve the clothing you were wearing at the time of the slip/fall. The defense might want to determine if your garments contributed to the fall in any way. If you fail to preserve them, you may have to face spoliation of evidence charges.

7. Hire a Competent Lawyer

You need to get competent legal representation as soon as possible. A qualified and experienced slip-and-fall lawyer can provide you with a firsthand analysis of your case. Most lawyers work on a contingency basis. Most of them also offer free initial consultation. Click here to read more about hiring the best lawyer in your area.

Slip-and-fall cases fall under state and local premises liability law. So, make sure to hire a local attorney who is thoroughly familiar with the law and court procedures in your jurisdiction. For example, if your case falls under the jurisdiction of Palm Beach County, you are probably better off hiring a qualified West Palm Beach slip-and-fall attorney.

Slip-and-fall accidents can happen anywhere, from a wet floor in a supermarket to a construction site. They often lead to medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering. Depending on the circumstances of your fall, you may be able to sue the property owner/manager for compensation. But, slip-and-fall cases are quite different from other personal injury cases. The above seven tips can strengthen your claim and increase your chances of getting maximum compensation.

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