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Picture the scene: You're at the grocery store picking out ingredients for dinner. You slip on spilled grease near the meat counter and fall to the ground, banging your head and landing hard on your right shoulder. You’re in pain but also embarrassed, so you quickly pay for your items and leave the store without saying a word to anyone.
Your actions are totally understandable. But they would also weaken your potential slip and fall case if you sustained injuries due to the store’s negligence. Here are the key steps you should (and shouldn’t take) to protect your legal rights if you slip and fall in a store or business.
Get immediate medical attention
Many people tend to underestimate their injuries and avoid seeking medical attention if they feel relatively normal immediately after the accident. But the truth is that physical symptoms of an injury might not show up for hours or even days. No matter how you feel after a slip and fall accident, don’t risk worsening your injury by delaying a visit to your doctor or the ER. You want to avoid worsening your injury and also obtain a professional diagnosis for your insurer.
A picture is truly worth a thousand words when it comes to proving negligence. Don’t leave the scene of your fall without documenting the area with photos and videos. Use your phone to capture images of your injury and the dangerous condition that caused your fall, whether it’s an unsecured railing or spilled liquid on the floor. Ask eyewitnesses for their contact information in case you need to ask them for their testimony later on.
Report the incident
If your slip and fall happened in a store or place of business, let the manager or owner know what happened. Stay calm, stick to the facts, ask to fill out an incident report and get a copy of it if possible. This document isn’t an accusation of negligence but simply an official documentation of the time, place and circumstances of what happened. Just as you shouldn’t assign blame at this point, don’t take it upon yourself, either. It’s human nature to say things like, “I guess I must have been clumsy,” but avoid the temptation to apologize. You didn’t do anything wrong.
Keep clear medical and financial records
As soon as you can, sit down and write out a detailed narrative of what happened. Then keep track of your medical appointments and related expenses (transportation, medications, orthopedic devices, etc.) in the days, weeks and months after the incident. Gather pay stubs and tax returns in case you find yourself unable to work for an extended period of time. If your recovery takes longer than your doctor initially predicted, don’t worry. Your injury might require multiple surgeries or ongoing therapy, or it could flare up again after you thought it was healed. But a properly filed slip and fall claim should cover your past, present and future medical bills.
Consult an expert
A personal injury attorney can determine if you have a case and provide guidance on filing a claim. But slip and fall cases can be complex and difficult to prove, and it’s essential that you work with an expert who can help you avoid errors and enhance your chances of success. Don’t put your claim at risk by hiring a lawyer who lacks the knowledge and experience you need. As a nationally recognized leader in personal injury law, Rosenbaum & Associates has been fighting to ensure justice for over 25 years. They’ve recovered over $100 million for their clients, and they can help you, too. Click here to learn more.