What to Do When You Slip and Fall in a Store
Slip and fall accidents are a common cause of injuries in California. According to data from the National Floor Safety Institute, slip and falls account for over one million hospital emergency room visits per year. Falls in general account for more than eight million visits.
Stores and businesses are common settings for slip and fall accidents. If you suffer an injury in a fall at a store, the company may owe you compensation. Take the following steps to improve your chances of securing a fair financial recovery for your slip and fall accident.
Try not to panic after a slip and fall accident. Take deep breaths, remain calm and think logically about the things you need to do next. It is common to feel embarrassed or flustered after a slip and fall; however, do your best to combat these feelings and carry out the necessary actions.
Report the Accident
Start by reporting the accident to an authority at the store. Let the store manager know you fell and were injured. Asked to fill out an accident report, if the store has one. Otherwise, write down the manager’s email address and send a written letter describing the accident later.
Ask for a Copy of the Accident Report
Your accident report should contain a detailed description of the slip and fall, as well as the date, time and location. Request a copy of the accident report for your records. You should also ask the manager for a copy of surveillance video footage, if available.
Gather Witness Information
If anyone saw you fall, write down that person’s name and contact information. If the eyewitness is willing, have him or her write down or record what he or she saw. Obtaining eyewitness statements while the memory is still fresh can provide evidence of why the fall occurred.
Take Photographs Before You Leave
Before you leave the store, take numerous pictures of the location of the fall. If you are too injured, ask someone to take photos for you. It is important to take pictures immediately, before the store manager or an employee has the chance to repair the dangerous condition. If there was a puddle of water on the floor that made you slip, for example, take a photo before someone cleans the spill. Get pictures from multiple angles and distances. Take photographs of your injuries, as well.
Save Your Shoes and Clothing
Do not wash or get rid of the shoes and clothes you were wearing when you fell. If your clothes are wet from something slippery, take photographs before they dry. What you were wearing can provide evidence. Your shoes, for example, can prove you were wearing the appropriate footwear for shopping – combatting any allegations from the insurance company that you contributed to the fall.
Go to the Nearest Hospital
If you feel seriously injured after a slip and fall accident, try not to move until paramedics arrive. Otherwise, get a ride to the nearest hospital or emergency room. Do not delay medical care, as this could make it more difficult to fully heal from your injuries. It can also reduce your right to obtain insurance benefits, as many insurance companies require immediate medical care for coverage.
Document the Event
Document your slip and fall accident every chance you get. Request copies of accident reports, pictures and videos, and your medical records. You should also keep an injury journal while you heal, where you describe how the injury has impacted your life. The more information you collect about your accident, the stronger your claim will be.
Consult With an Attorney
Finally, consult with a local Los Angeles slip and fall attorney for assistance bringing a claim. Negotiating with a store’s insurance company can be difficult on your own. Hiring a lawyer will force the insurance company to treat you fairly. Your lawyer can help you document your accident, prove the defendant’s fault and fight for maximum financial compensation on your behalf.