By Elspeth Crawford
Slip and fall accidents are among the most common personal injury claims out there. They come in many varieties. A plaintiff might slip on a floor of a public business, trip over a toy in a residential home, stumble over a hole in the ground while walking outside, or more. Depending on the situation, the path to recovery can be different, and an attorney may be needed to help steer the case toward a satisfactory end.
What to do Immediately After a Slip-and-Fall Accident
The first thing to do after any accident, not just a slip-and-fall, is to get needed medical attention. Such accidents can break an arm, twist an ankle, or worse, and you don’t want to risk compounded the damage by not getting timely treatment.
Assuming you’re in the condition to do so, it’s extremely important to create a record of the accident while it’s still fresh in your mind. Write it down if you can. Take note of the sequence of events leading up to the accident, the names and contact information of any witnesses, and what anybody said before, during, and after the accident occurred. If possible, take pictures of the accident scene. If you fell in a public facility, like a convenience store, the facility may file a proprietary accident report, but it’s always prudent to create one of your own so your version of events is preserved for negotiations down the line.
Proving fault in any personal injury claim is a tricky, circumstance-specific business. When dealing with slip-and-fall cases, much comes down to where the accident happens. The dimensions of the owner’s responsibility differ depending on what kind of locale is at issue, so be sure to tell your lawyer not only how and why you fell, but also where.
When thinking about who’s at fault for a slip-and-fall accident, remember that there must be a responsible party whose negligence caused the injury. Most state laws take the plaintiff’s own negligence into account, so if you were partly or completely responsible for your own injury your chances of recovering decrease dramatically. If you’re in a convenience store and slip on a puddle of grease which the management failed to clean up, you have a good case, but if you’re in the same convenience store and trip over your own untied shoelaces, your case will likely go nowhere.
If you have a successful slip and fall case, you stand to recover the kinds of damages you would normally recover in any personal injury case. These include compensation for wages lost, medical bills paid, potential future medical expenses, and damages for pain and suffering caused.