7 Steps to Take After Being Injured in a Slip and Fall Accident
Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Aug 22, 2017 in Premises Liability
Slip and fall accidents can cause a variety of severe injuries, from cuts and bruises to broken bones, concussions and soft tissue damage.
If the accident was caused by the property owner's negligence, you may be able to file a legal claim to obtain compensation for medical bills and other damages. However, even if you have grounds for a claim, the steps you take right after the accident could affect your claim's chances of success.
That is why our premises liability attorneys in South Bend advise you to take the following seven steps after suffering a slip and fall injury. These steps will help preserve evidence so we can build a case in support of your claim.
1. Seek Medical Treatment Immediately
This is your first priority after suffering any type of injury. You need to be examined by qualified medical professionals who can determine all of your injuries and provide the treatments you need.
Some people delay treatment because they do not think their injuries are that serious. This could be because they are experiencing minor symptoms that are not very painful or difficult to manage.
However, some injuries take hours or even days to cause severe symptoms. In some cases, this is because the body releases chemicals like cortisol that can mask pain and other symptoms of an injury.
It is better to err on the side of caution and seek treatment, no matter how minor your injuries appear to be. Delaying treatment, even for one day, could cause existing injuries to get worse and lengthen the recovery process.
The other danger of waiting is that it could hurt your chances of recovering compensation in any future legal or insurance claims.
Insurers and attorneys for the other party will claim that the delay in treatment means your injuries are not that serious or that they were caused by something else besides the accident. This could make it more difficult to obtain fair compensation or any compensation at all.
The other reason seeking medical treatment is so important is that it will provide documentation of your injuries and help link them to the accident. This documentation is one of the most crucial pieces of evidence in any personal injury claim.
2. Take Pictures
Once you leave the scene of an accident, things will probably be cleaned up or repaired, eliminating valuable evidence that helps show exactly what happened.
This is why you should take as many pictures as you can before you leave. These make for powerful evidence and could be a deciding factor in the success of your claim.
3. Talk to Witnesses
In some cases, witnesses may have had a better view of the accident than you did, even though you were the victim.
When your injury occurs, look around for any witnesses, including customers, passersby and employees. Ask them about what they saw and jot down what they say. You could also ask them if you can record the conversation on your smartphone.
Ask any witnesses you speak to for their contact information. This way you can contact them in the future if you or your attorney have more questions or need clarification on what they said.
4. File an Accident Report
If the slip and fall occurred at a business, ask a manager to file an incident report and provide you with a copy. If you have to leave to seek medical treatment before you can obtain a copy, ask for the manager's contact information so you or a friend or loved one can return to obtain a copy.
5. File an Insurance Claim
If your injury occurred at a business, you might be able to obtain compensation through business liability insurance. If your injury occurred at a private residence, you may be able to obtain compensation from the owner's home insurance.
Either way, you should file an insurance claim as soon as possible. Insurance companies often have deadlines for filing claims and if you miss the deadline you could lose your opportunity to obtain insurance compensation.
Ask the property owner for contact information for the insurance company and call and explain what happened. Tell the insurance company when and where the accident occurred and mention that you suffered injuries and are receiving treatment.
However, you should avoid giving your opinions on how or why the accident occurred or the severity of your injuries. You could unwittingly minimize your injuries or admit some level of fault for what happened. This could hurt your chances of recovering fair compensation or any compensation at all.
6. Contact an Experienced Attorney
An attorney can advise you of all of your rights and determine if you have a valid slip and fall claim. If you do, he or she can manage every aspect of your claim, including:
- Talking to the insurance company
- Investigating the incident
- Collecting relevant evidence
- Building a case to support your claim
- Negotiating compensation
- Filing a lawsuit if necessary
While the other parties involved in the case will be focused on denying compensation or paying as little as possible, your attorney will be focused on obtaining fair compensation for all of the damages you suffered.
7. Follow Your Treatment Plan
You should always follow all of the doctor's orders, including:
- Taking prescriptions
- Visiting specialists
- Undergoing physical therapy
- Taking blood tests
- Returning to a doctor for a follow-up appointment
- Avoiding activities doctors tell you to avoid
Following your treatment plan not only helps you recover from your injuries, it helps to demonstrate the severity of your claim to insurers and juries.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Firm Today
Have you been injured in a slip and fall accident?
Contact our trusted attorneys for a free, no obligation legal consultation to review your rights. You could be entitled to compensation for the effects of your injury, from pain and suffering to all medical bills related to your treatment.
If you have a viable claim and decide to proceed, we will provide our services on contingency. This means we will not charge legal fees unless we obtain the compensation you deserve.
Contact Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak today to schedule your consultation.