Steps to Take After a Slip, Trip, and Fall Down Accident
In our September 2020 column, we discussed recommended steps to take immediately following your involvement in a motor vehicle accident. The White Plains accident and personal injury lawyers at Worby Vecchio Edelman LLP have handled literally thousands of accident cases, and have years of experience in the field.
This month we’ll focus on what to do following a fall down accident.
What to do After a Fall Down Accident
It is critical to understand that the fact that you suffer a fall does not in itself impose automatic liability upon the property owner. To the contrary, you have to offer proof that the owner’s (or perhaps lessor’s) negligence caused you to fall. We have focused on the law concerning fall down accidents in previous columns. We now turn to how you can best help us help you in building a case following a trip and fall or slip and fall type of accident.
Identify the Cause of Your Fall
First, you must be able to identify the cause of your fall. We can paper our walls with appellate court decisions that dismiss cases when the accident victim does not know the cause of the fall. It’s usually not enough to say, “I fell”; “I tripped”; or “I fell on something slippery”. It may be counterintuitive – after all, you’re probably in pain, or at least shocked by the fact that one second you were walking and the next second you’re lying on the ground – but look around you. If you felt yourself slip, what caused that to happen? Was there some type of moisture on the floor? If the fall occurred in a grocery store, was there some type of food product on the floor? If so, try and determine the condition of that product. If it was some type of liquid, was there debris in the product? Footprints? Anything else to indicate the product had likely been there for a longer period of time rather than there for only a few minutes prior to your fall?
The answers to these questions can determine whether your case will be successful or not, or at least our negotiating position during settlement discussions with an insurance carrier or its attorney.
It’s also a good idea to inspect the condition of your shoes. Do they look wet (and not because it might be raining outside, but because you just slipped on water or some other type of fluid)? Further, do your shoes contain any debris, which can offer a clue as to what was on the floor? Try and take photographs from various angles of the condition on which you fell, as that will also help you focus later on upon the condition which caused you to fall.
Look for a Witness
If there is anyone in the immediate area whom you think might have witnessed the cause of your fall, try and get their name and contact information. Our investigators can then speak to them later on in the process. You should also try and identify any store employees who might have either witnessed the accident or the condition which caused the accident. If nothing else, that employee will have most likely been the first personnel on the scene to assist you.
Report Your Accident
Try and find someone to whom you can report the accident. If it occurs in a private home, an accident report won’t be prepared, but in a department store or grocery store there will surely be a process to follow when a customer is involved n any type of accident. You don’t have to report an accident in order to make a claim, but doing so will at least indicate credibility on your part, and we won’t have to encounter a skeptical insurance company later on which claims that the accident was unreported.
Another benefit of reporting the accident is that many stores today have 24 hour video surveillance, such that your accident may well have bene recorded. In this manner, we can view the accident, and come to a better understanding of exactly what occurred, and why it occurred. If you don’t report the accident, the store won’t have a reason to preserve that video, whereas if you do, the store’s failure to maintain that evidence may serve to hurt it during subsequent litigation.
Contact Our White Plains Personal Injury Lawyers
The White Plains personal injury lawyers at Worby Vecchio Edelman LLP are experienced in all facets of personal injury law. Call us if you were involved in any type of accident. The firm has been in the business for nearly forty years, and our injury lawyers have well over 100 years of experience in the field. We’ll answer your questions, and help you navigate your way through the many immediate details that you’ll encounter. We work on contingency, so we only charge a fee if we are successful in your case.