Slip and falls can occur in a variety of circumstances and often result in serious injuries. Slip and fall claims can be difficult in Texas: The Plaintiff must prove that it was more likely than not that the property owner knew or should have known that that a dangerous defect or condition existed. Recovering for your injuries (medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering) usually requires the assistance of a skilled attorney and is typically difficult to pursue on your own. However, there are things that you can do immediately after a slip or fall to properly document your claim and increase your chances of recovering:
1) Call the Police/Contact Store or Property Management:
Health comes first. If you believe that you need immediate medical assistance, call 911. Ensure that you communicate the circumstances of your fall to the police officer such as what you think you slipped on, what you were doing prior to falling, and why you came to the property in the first place. You should also contact the store or property manager/owner and tell them what happened and request that an incident report be completed and provided to you. Slip and falls can often be chaotic, so if you forget to request an incident report at the time of your fall, contact the store or property as soon as possible, inform them of the situation, and request that an incident report be prepared and provided to you.
2) Take in Your Surroundings:
Are there any cameras that would have captured your fall? If so make a note of there location. In the digital world that we live in, security cameras often capture incidents like this. If you identify a camera you think recorded the incident, make sure to tell the police officer so that he can note it in his police report.
Were there any witnesses to your fall? In locations such as office buildings there usually are. Make sure to get the name and contact information for anyone who saw everything happen so that they can be contacted later.
What is the Weather Like?
Was it raining, snowing, or sunny and hot?
Was there any signage around indicating that the surface was wet or Slippery?
3) Pictures, Pictures, Pictures
Photograph the entire premises, including the route leading up to where you fell, the location where you fell, and the item or substance you believe caused you to slip. To many times, property owners will go back after the fact and fix the condition that caused your injuries.
4) Get Medical Treatment
If you have no already done so, seek medical treatment. Provide your doctor with as much information about how you fell and what you are feeling like as you can. Make sure that your doctor documents all of your treatment. Follow the doctors recommendations!
5) Be Cautious of the Insurance Company
If you fell at a store, restaurant, or at someone’s house, they may have some sort of insurance applicable to your situation that you may be able to utilize. If so, the insurance company may contact you seeking to make some sort of a “good faith payment” in exchange for you releasing your claims against the property owner. For example, I have seen a slip and fall by a guest at a person’s house resulting in a severely fractured ankle. In that case, the homeowner’s insurance company was extremely eager to resolve the victims claims immediately after the incident for the least amount of money possible.
If you have been injured in a slip and fall incident, contact us for a free case evaluation. It is vital that you contact a slip and fall lawyer to help you navigate the claims process.