Crucial Steps to Take After a Slip and Fall Accident

Here’s what you need to know about protecting your health and legal options after your slip and fall accident.

Summary

  • Understand common causes of slip and fall accidents, like wet floors or uneven surfaces.
  • Be aware of potential injuries, from soft tissue damage to broken bones or head trauma.
  • Take crucial steps like seeking medical attention, reporting the accident, and gathering evidence.
  • Consider consulting a personal injury lawyer to maximize your compensation.

Slip and fall accidents are a leading cause of unintentional injuries, and they can happen anywhere–at the grocery store, on someone’s property, or even at your workplace. While some slip and falls may result in minor bumps and bruises, others can lead to serious injuries with long-term consequences.

If you’ve recently sustained injuries from slipping or tripping due to someone else’s negligence, knowing the right steps to take after a slip and fall accident can significantly impact your health, legal rights, and potential compensation.

You don’t have to go through this alone. Reach out to our team of skilled slip and fall attorneys at WHG for a free consultation. You can contact us online or call us at (800) 320-HELP.

Slip and Fall Accidents

In legal terms, a slip and fall accident occurs when you unintentionally fall due to a dangerous condition on someone else’s property. Common causes include:

  • Wet floors: Spills, leaks, or improper cleaning can leave surfaces slick, increasing the risk of slipping.
  • Uneven surfaces: Cracked pavement, loose tiles, or uneven sidewalks can cause you to lose your footing.
  • Poor lighting: Dim or inadequate lighting can make it difficult to see potential hazards, like steps or obstacles.
  • Missing handrails: Stairs without proper handrails or other safety features pose a significant fall risk, especially for those with mobility limitations.
  • Improperly maintained walkways: Debris, clutter, or snow and ice buildup can create slippery or uneven surfaces.

Premises liability is a key concept in slip and fall accidents. It means that property owners have a legal responsibility to maintain a safe environment for visitors and invitees, and can be held liable for your injuries if they fail to do so.

Common Injuries from a Slip and Fall Accident

The severity of injuries from a slip and fall can vary greatly depending on several factors, including your age, health, and the way you fall. Here are some potential injuries:

  • Soft tissue injuries: Sprains, strains, and contusions (bruises) are the most common injuries resulting from slip and falls.
  • Broken bones: Especially in older adults or people with osteoporosis, slip and falls can break bones in the hip, wrist, forearm, and ankle.
  • Head injuries: These can range from mild concussions with headaches, dizziness, and nausea to severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) impacting thinking, memory, and movement.
  • Back and spinal cord injuries: Some of the most serious slip and fall injuries involve the back and spinal cord, causing pain, numbness, weakness, paralysis, or even death.
  • Cuts and scrapes: While minor, these injuries still require proper cleaning and care to prevent infection.

Remember, even if you feel okay after a fall, seeing a doctor is a crucial step to take after a slip and fall accident. Adrenaline can mask pain, and some injuries like internal bleeding may not show symptoms immediately. You may be injured without knowing it.

Basic Steps After a Slip and Fall Accident

The immediate aftermath of a slip and fall accident is a critical time. Taking the right steps can help protect your health and legal rights.

1. Seek Medical Attention

This is the most important step. See a doctor to get checked out, document any injuries, and follow their treatment plan. Even if you don’t feel hurt, you may have hidden injuries you aren’t aware of. Your medical records will be a key piece of documentation when you file your personal injury claim.

2. Report the Accident

Report the fall to the property owner or manager as soon as possible after the incident. Provide details like the date, time, and location of your fall, and briefly describe the hazard that caused the slip and fall accident.

Don’t forget to request a written accident report and ensure you receive a copy for your records. This report serves as official documentation of the incident from the property owner’s perspective.

3. Document the Scene

If possible, take pictures or videos of the scene of the fall. Focus on capturing the specific hazard that caused your accident, like a missing wet floor sign or a broken stairwell.

Include surrounding conditions like lighting and any debris. If possible, take pictures of any visible injuries as soon as you can.

4. Gather Witness Information

If anyone witnessed your fall, their statements can be crucial evidence if you need to file a claim. Politely ask any witnesses for their names and contact information. Briefly explain what happened and that you might need their testimony later.

5. Keep Records

Organize all documents related to the slip and fall accident in a safe and accessible place. This includes:

  • Medical bills and receipts
  • Doctor’s orders and prescriptions
  • Receipts for any accident-related expenses (transportation, medications)
  • Copies of all accident-related photos
  • The accident report (if you received one)

6. Consider a Slip and Fall Attorney

Consulting with a personal injury attorney can be highly beneficial, especially if:

  • The property owner seems uncooperative or denies responsibility for the accident.
  • Your injuries are severe and require extensive medical treatment or rehabilitation.
  • You have concerns about the fairness of a settlement offer from the property owner’s insurance company.

Compensation for Slip and Fall Accident Victims

Depending on the severity of the accident and the property owner’s negligence, slip and fall accident victims may be eligible for various types of compensation. One of the key steps to take after a slip and fall accident is documenting your damages, which may include:

  • Medical expenses: This covers all costs associated with treating your injuries, including doctor visits, hospital stays, surgery, rehabilitation, medication, and medical equipment.
  • Lost wages: If your injuries prevent you from working, you can be compensated for lost wages during your recovery period. This may include salary, bonuses, and commissions.
  • Pain and suffering: This compensates for the physical and emotional pain you experience due to the accident. It’s subjective and determined by the severity and duration of your pain and suffering.
  • Loss of earning capacity: In some cases, your injuries may permanently affect your ability to earn a living. Compensation can be awarded for the future wages you’ll likely lose due to this reduced capacity.
  • Property damage: If your personal belongings were damaged in the fall (e.g., broken glasses, ruined clothes), you might be able to recover the cost of repairs or replacements.

The amount of compensation you receive will depend on several factors, including the impact on your life and the negligence of the property owner. A personal injury lawyer experienced in slip and fall cases can help gather the right evidence and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

How a Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer Can Help You

The aftermath of a slip and fall accident can be overwhelming, especially if you’re dealing with painful injuries and medical bills. A slip and fall accident lawyer can provide invaluable assistance by:

  • Investigating the accident: Your lawyer will thoroughly investigate the accident to gather evidence that proves the property owner’s negligence. This investigation may involve witness interviews, requesting security footage, and consulting with experts on safety standards or building codes.
  • Negotiating with the insurance company: Insurance companies are often focused on minimizing payouts. Your lawyer has the experience and knowledge to negotiate on your behalf and fight for the compensation you deserve.
  • Preparing and filing a legal claim: If necessary, your lawyer will handle the legal aspects of your case, ensuring all paperwork is filed correctly and within deadlines.
  • Representing you in court: Should your case go to court, your lawyer will represent you effectively and protect your rights throughout the legal process.

At Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia, we are dedicated to fighting for the rights of accident victims. We understand what you’re going through and we want to help you recover the slip and fall compensation you are entitled to.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch to discuss your legal options and get the support you need. Speak with our team of slip and fall accident attorneys by contacting us online or calling us at (800) 320-HELP.


Frequently Asked Questions

How long do I have to file a claim after a slip and fall accident?

The time limit for filing a personal injury claim varies depending on your state. One of the first steps to take after a slip and fall accident is to consult with a lawyer as soon as possible to understand the specific time limit in your jurisdiction. In Florida, for instance, you generally have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit.

What if I’m partially at fault for my slip and fall accident?

Even if you caused part of your slip and fall accident in Florida, you might still get compensation. The state uses a comparative negligence system. The court assigns fault percentages to you and the property owner, reducing your compensation award by your share of the blame. Speak with a lawyer to understand how this applies to your situation and how to fight for maximum compensation.

Can I recover compensation for a slip and fall accident at work?

Workers’ compensation benefits can cover medical bills and lost wages related to on-the-job slip and fall accidents. Although you don’t need to prove that the slip and fall accident was someone else’s fault, you may encounter other obstacles when filing a workers’ comp claim. A workers’ compensation attorney can help you seek fair, timely benefits from your employer’s insurance carrier to cover your damages.

No Win, No Fee Commitment

Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia is committed to helping you rebuild your life after a hardship. We are not just your legal team—we are your allies, your partners, and your advocates. We will do everything we can to handle your case with compassion and care, and to get you the results you need!

“And for every fight we take on, know this…we are doing everything we can to make sure we win!”

— Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia

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About the Author

Adam Werner is a partner and practicing attorney at WHG. He specializes in personal injury cases, workers’ compensation claims, and veteran disability benefits. He routinely writes about personal injury and workers comp topics for the Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia blog

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