6 Steps to Protect Yourself After You’ve Suffered a Slip and Fall Accident
It always happens unexpectedly, of course. You are in a store or office building lobby and thinking about your task at hand, and suddenly your world is turned upside down and you are on the floor. Almost instantly, you are in severe pain and are trying to figure out what just happened. You may even be a bit embarrassed and want to get up, brush yourself off and move on. Don’t. These types of accidents are common and it is important that you know how to protect yourself after you’ve suffered a slip and fall accident.
The National Floor Safety Institute cites slip and fall accidents send over one million people to hospital emergency rooms each year. If you slipped and fell due to conditions that should have been resolved by the property owner, company management, or employees of a business, you have the right to pursue compensation for your injuries. What happens after the fall is crucial to preserving your rights to possibly pursue a legal claim in the future.
Compensation for your pain, suffering, and financial hardship can be attained through a settlement or a lawsuit. Having the right information to substantiate your claim is crucial to its success. There are things to keep in mind should this situation ever happen to you so you know how to protect yourself.
Keep Your Focus
Immediately after you fall it is important not to try to minimize the incident by trying to act like it didn’t happen. You shouldn’t exaggerate the situation either, however, you should stay put and determine if you are injured. Any quick movement you could cause further injury. Also, it may be difficult, but while still at the scene of the accident, you will need to keep your focus and take note of why you fell. Was there a wet floor you slipped on or an obstacle on the floor you tripped over, resulting in a fall? If you are able, and you have a phone with a camera, take a picture of the area as soon as possible after the accident.
Get Seen by a Doctor
Regardless of how you feel right after your fall, first and foremost you should make arrangements to be seen by a professional medical practitioner. While a store employee or a security guard may be trained in first aid may be able to initially help you, the treatment you receive is no substitute for full medical attention. You will need to be checked out to make sure no torn ligaments, sprains, broken bones, or you have not received any internal injuries such as a concussion. Some serious injuries are not readily apparent due to the immediate shock but are felt hours or maybe day later.
Don’t wait, see a doctor. A professional medical evaluation will also prove that you sought medical attention for your injuries and create a formal record of any injury diagnoses. It will also record your account of how the fall happened. Once you have been diagnosed and have received treatment instructions from the doctor, follow them to the letter. If you are non-compliant with treatment or are overactive for the severity of the injuries you have received, an insurance adjuster can raise questions about the seriousness of your injuries and may even reject your claim.
Write it Down
Document what happened as soon as possible after the accident by writing it down, even if it is scribbled notes on some scratch paper. The sooner you can get the facts down on paper, the better your memory will be about the incident. Identify if there are any witnesses to your fall and ask them what they saw happen. Attempt to get their names and contact information and ask for their cooperation in case you need a statement from them later. Even if no one was nearby to witness the accident, remember who helped you after the fall by writing their names down and if they are employees of the business or not. Remember, no detail is too small.
Follow Company Policy
If you fell at your workplace or at a retail business such as a supermarket, there is likely an accident report form that staff will fill out. At the very least, make sure the manager of a store knows that the accident occurred. If your fall is at work, it is likely your manager will insist you get examined by a doctor and participate in filling out reporting paperwork if possible, and your expenses will likely be covered by workers’ comp insurance. With workplace injuries, it is important to remember that you can still retain outside Counsel if you believe you deserve greater compensation than what is offered by your employer. OSHA has a detailed protocol and has increased regulations for workplace fall prevention recently.
Be Careful What You Say
Right after the accident, avoid talking about how you thought it happened or immediately placing blame on anyone. When you are later approached by the insurance adjuster for the company premises you slipped and fell at, be careful about your comments and the adjuster’s effort to minimize your accident. In fact, you have the right to not make a written or verbal statement to an insurance company until you have consulted with an attorney.
Contact an Attorney
The time you have had to take off from work because of the injury and the related medical bills can be an expensive burden that you have the right to seek compensation for. Your pain and suffering is another issue to take into account as you try to heal from your injuries. You have a right to consult with a lawyer experienced in slip and fall accidents regarding recommended steps to take and the possibility of litigation. Many lawyers who specialize in accident victim representation do not require payment until you settle your case (these are called contingency fee agreements), so you are not placed in additional financial hardship when seeking legal help. An attorney can help you handle insurance company staff and will give you an opportunity to be compensated for the accident you have suffered.
Interim Financial Help
While you heal from your injuries and are pursuing a legal settlement as compensation, if you ever find yourself struggling with your finances, you may not know that you can leverage your future legal settlement to get that much-needed cash before your case settles. You can, with what is called a legal funding from Signal Legal Funding. The process is simple, the application is free, and the transaction is no-risk, which means that if you do receive a legal funding and you lose your case, you owe nothing. If you would like more information, simply call Signal at 1-800-635-1167.