Understanding a Slip and Fall Injury and Your Options
Understanding a Slip and Fall Injury
Slip and fall injuries are a common lawsuit. This type of accident can easily happen and is sometimes hard to prove who is at fault as well as awarding the monetary damages. When you file a slip and fall claim or lawsuit, there are many key terms you will hear, such as:
- Comparative Fault
- Personal Injury Lawyer
- Accident Report
A slip and fall accident (also known as a trip and fall) occurs when someone (e.g. a store owner) has created or allowed a surface to become dangerous enough to cause a fall. It is a personal injury claim that needs to be filed shortly after the accident. These accidents occur because of poor maintenance or failure to clean up.
Causes of Slip and Fall Injuries
These accidents can happen anywhere, in a store aisle or right outside your front door. There are cases where a person slipped and fell on an icy surface such as an unsalted walkway, sidewalk or store entrance. A liquid product falls from a shelf and breaks open on a grocery store aisle. The spill is not cleaned in a timely manner, or the cleanup was done carelessly, causing the fall. Or a freezer has a leak, and an employee does nothing to clean it up and/or alert a manager.
Falls can happen from unmarked stairs leading to or from an entrance, a substance on stairs or an object left on them. Another area that is prone to slip and falls are sidewalks. If the sidewalk is not properly maintained or cleared of snow, ice or wet leaves, this leaves the property management liable, especially if they know a particular area needs to be fixed or receives a large amount of water from improper drainage. A person can trip and fall on a sidewalk that has uneven concrete blocks or even broken blocks.
Don’t Take Chances with your Slip & Fall Claim
When you file a slip and fall claim, time is of the essence to preserve evidence and to seek medical treatment (if necessary). The first thing to do is to report the accident to the property owner or the manager. You may be asked to fill out an accident report. You don’t have to do this, but if you do, be sure to fill it out accurately and concisely. The insurance company for the property owner will try to prove you are the one who was careless. Next, get the names and contact information of those who witnessed the accident. If you can, take several pictures of the accident scene with your cell phone. You should also try to get the video footage of the accident with a written request. When you are getting medical treatment, you will need to explain your injuries precisely. Health insurance companies do not pay medical bills and will try to claim that the injury (or injuries) were not possible or do not require a certain treatment. It is advised that you do not give a statement to an insurance adjuster. Please consult a personal injury lawyer first before speaking to the insurance adjuster.
Protecting your Slip & Fall Claim
The lawyer for the property owner will try to convince the jury that your claim is not valid. For example, if you go to the doctor because you injured your ankle during the slip and fall, your medical records must not show that you have had issues with the injured ankle prior to the accident. Or you have made a (or more) slip and fall claims in the past. Also, it is important that you attend all your doctor’s appointments. If you have a history of missing appointments, it can show that you weren’t as hurt as you claimed to be. There also has to be expert witnesses. The lawyer will have his or her own witnesses (e.g. a doctor or a construction expert) to prove the accident was your fault because you weren’t paying attention, especially if you were on your cell phone at the time of the accident.