No matter how careful we think we are, accidents can happen. After all, the CDC reports that 17,000 slip and fall accidents occur every single year. But when someone else’s negligence and failure to maintain a safe environment ends up with you getting hurt, you may need to file a personal injury claim as a result. Ultimately, the actions you take (or don’t take) after an incident like this can have a big impact on your ability to successfully file a claim. Following slip and fall injuries, make sure to keep these dos and don’ts in mind.
- Seek out medical help: Before you do anything else, you should get medical attention. Even if you don’t think you’ve been seriously injured, you should take precautions here. This will allow you to identify underlying injuries and make your recovery much smoother, but it can also help you obtain proof of your injuries that will come in handy later on.
- Report the incident: No matter where you slipped and fell — be it your apartment building’s hallway, inside a shopping mall, or while visiting a friend — you should fill out an accident report. You can either create one yourself or request that the landlord or property manager fill one out. Make sure to get a signed copy for your records before you leave the premises.
- Preserve evidence: Take photos of your injuries and of the scene where your accident occurred. Document the date and time of your accident and be sure to hold onto the shoes and clothes you wore that day (in their same condition). These could be used as evidence later on if you work with a personal injury law firm to file a claim.
- Talk to representatives or insurance agents: This can be tough, but make sure not to speak to any representatives of the business responsible or to their insurance company. Businesses have been known to hire private investigators to scope out a situation. They may even offer you a cash settlement to make the whole thing go away. Do not talk to them, give recorded statements, or accept offers without your lawyer present. You should also give no recorded statements to the business’s insurer. These statements can be used against you to downplay the severity of the incident.
- Say anything on social media: As a general rule, you should never make posts on social media about incidents like these, as they can be used as evidence against you. But following an accident like this, your personal injury law firm may even suggest you stay off these platforms entirely. Even non-related tweets or posts wherein you seem happy or physically in good health could have a negative impact on your claim.
- Forget to hire a lawyer: These kinds of cases can be incredibly complex; you should never try to go it alone. That’s where your personal injury law firm comes in. Your attorney can keep you from making these kinds of mistakes, fight for your rights, and handle anything that comes up with a property manager or insurance company. They are truly indispensable in cases like these, especially when you’re already stressed about an injury.
Following an accident, it’s not always easy to know the right things to do (or not do). But if you remember the items on this list, you’ll be in a much better position to protect yourself after slip and fall incidents.