Anyone can be involved in a slip-and-fall accident, although the risk of slipping and falling is one most people tend to ignore until it happens to them or someone they know. Some, such accidents cause little more than a bruise or two and a damaged ego, but in other instances they can cause traumatic injuries or even death.
If you ever do slip, fall and injure yourself, make sure you follow all of these tips to maximize your compensation:
Do your best to stay calm
This may be easier said than done, but it is vitally important. Although slipping and falling is often disorienting, you should do your best to remain as calm as possible. Take a close look at your surroundings and commit them to memory. Make note of where exactly you slipped, what you were doing when you slipped, how well the area is lit, whether there were any obstructions to prevent you from seeing where you were going, what shoes you were wearing, whether you were carrying anything, where you were looking and what type of substance you believe caused you to slip. Check your shoes and clothes to see if they are wet, too. You will be asked a seemingly endless stream of questions about your accident in the months and possibly even years to come, so you should take note of as many details as you can. Your attention to detail in the moment will be highly beneficial down the line.
Take pictures of everything–yes, everything
Conventional wisdom will tell you a picture is worth a thousand words but pictures can also be worth thousands–or in some cases, even millions–of dollars. They are objective evidence that is highly reliable, virtually impossible to fabricate and will make a tangible impact when jurors see them. Describing your pain and disfigurement to a jury or an insurance adjuster is effective, but having pictures of your injuries will allow you to add a powerful visual element to your claim. With this in mind, at a minimum, you should be sure to take pictures of the area where you slipped and fell, any injuries you sustained when you fell, the shoes you were wearing, the clothes you were wearing and the substance which caused you to slip. Keep the shoes you were wearing at the time of the accident, too. They are valuable evidence.
Talk to all witnesses
If you are physically able, you need to make a point to talk to everyone who witnessed your accident or its aftermath. They presumably saw the accident from a different vantage point and can offer another perspective about how it happened. Maybe they even saw someone else slip and fall in the same spot not long before you. Witness accounts, particularly those from independent witnesses who have no relationship to you or anyone you know, are given a great deal of weight. Independent witness testimony is viewed as being particularly believable because independent witnesses typically have nothing to gain from testifying. Testimony from friends and family members is also effective, but it is likely to be viewed more skeptical because they are presumed to be biased in your favor.
Contact an experienced law firm with attorneys who will fight for you
If you suffer a traumatic injury–for example, a brain injury–in Dallas, find a local law firm to fight for you. An experienced team of Dallas traumatic brain injury attorneys will know the tactics businesses and property owners in the community, as well as their insurance companies, use to defend cases like yours. You need effective, accessible local advocates who can give you the best representation available after a slip-and-fall accident.
Make sure a detailed incident report is created
An incident report will be one of your key pieces of evidence. If you are on a commercial property, there should be at least one employee on the premises who can prepare a written report to document your fall. When the report is being prepared, you need to give the Preparer as detailed an account of the accident as you can. No detail is too small to be included. You should ask to see the report when the employee has finished it to ensure its accuracy, and you should request to have a copy sent to you. Remember, you want to be the one controlling the narrative.
Seek immediate medical treatment for your injuries
Even if you do not look or feel injured, you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to make sure. If you are able, you should transport yourself to a nearby medical facility as soon as possible. If you are too injured or overwhelmed to get care on your own, call 911 and request to have an ambulance come to the scene. The ambulance emergency medical technicians (EMTs) will examine you to determine the nature and extent of your injuries. If you need or want to be taken to the hospital for further examination and care, the EMTs will take you there in the ambulance. When you arrive at the hospital, you will be taken to the emergency department for triage and testing.
Continue receiving medical treatment for your injuries until you have recovered from them
Whether your injuries, call for a follow-up visit to your family doctor, years of intense therapy and multiple surgeries or anything in between, you need to continue receiving treatment until your doctors tell you that you have fully recovered. The people who are taking care of you will tell you when you have reached maximum medical improvement. Trust them. When they discharge you from care, you can safely stop receiving treatment.
The time following a slip-and-fall accident can be overwhelming without the proper resources. Do not let yourself become a helpless victim of someone else’s negligent actions. If you injure yourself as a result of slipping and falling, you will be doing yourself a favor if you follow the steps above. Your case’s value could depend on one tiny, seemingly insignificant detail, and you do not want it to be a detail you neglected.