Every year, countless people are injured due to unsafe or poorly maintained buildings or property, whether inside a business or on a sidewalk or parking lot. These are often called “slip and fall” accidents, and they frequently involve a business’s failure to maintain a clean and safe premise. While slip and fall case are often the butt of jokes, they can cause serious injuries, including broken bones, nerve damage, and paralysis, or even death. If you have suffered an injury from a slip and fall, there are a number of things to consider as you pursue your claim.
Elements of a Slip and Fall Case
A dangerous condition existed on the property;
The owner knew or should have known that the dangerous condition existed;
The owner failed to fix or remove the condition; and
You are injured as a result of the condition.
STEP 1: Seek Treatment
If you have been injured in a slip and fall, don’t be afraid to get treated by the appropriate medical professionals. Your health is too important to put off, and a failure to seek treatment may be seen by an opposing insurance company as evidence that your injuries were not severe. A business may offer to pay your medical bills if you were injured on their property. They may have insurance coverage for this or may genuinely feel bad for you. In either event, this is not an admission of guilt and cannot be used against them in future litigation.
STEP 2: Document, Document, Document
As with most accidents, it is absolutely critical that you document the accident scene and obtain all available evidence as soon as possible after an accident. This is particularly critical for slip and fall cases, as they often involve things such as liquids on the floor or other non-permanent conditions that will quickly be removed by a business after notification of an injury. It is important to establish what the condition is, how it got there, how long it was present, and whether it should have been identified by the owner. For obvious reasons, you do not want to rely upon the business or owner to document these conditions.
step 3: Speak with a lawyer
In order to protect yourself, you should consult with an experienced slip and fall lawyer as soon as possible after the incident. A personal injury lawyer can evaluate your claim assist in conducting the initial investigation, allowing you to focus on your recovery. Business records are notorious for being lost or deleted over time, memories will fade, and witnesses will move away, so engaging an lawyer to collect evidence and investigate the nature of the accident can provide important evidence in support of your claim down the road.