You slipped and fell, now what?
We’ve all been there: walking down the aisle of the local store, unaware of any hazard on the floor, and then, the next instant you are landing hard on the floor with your foot underneath you. Even if you aren’t immediately thinking about filing a lawsuit, there are some things to take notice of in the immediate aftermath to ensure that if you do end up filing suit, you will have enough background information to at least bolster your case when you bring it to an attorney, like a personal injury lawyer Phoenix relies on, for evaluation.
First, get medical treatment if you need it. This is particularly true if your head hits the floor or ground, if you have existing injuries that could have been exacerbated by the fall, and if you have pain in unusual places which could denote internal injuries. Not only does this ensure that your medical needs are taken care of, particularly if there are head injuries or broken bones, but it also provides solid documentation of the medical details of your injury in the immediate aftermath.
Second, inspect the area where you fell. It is rare that someone slips on a floor without some other catalyst such as a carpet snag, freshly waxed floors, prior liquid spill, or even water other people have brought in from outside during a rainstorm. Prepare a written version of the accident including descriptions of the area where you fell and the conditions that could have precipitated the fall. Photographs are always useful in this regard.
Third, find your witnesses. Chances are if you slip and fall in public, there will be at least one person who witnessed the accident from a uniquely different vantage point. Make a point of reaching out to this person if you can at the store or location of the fall to get their contact information and name. It is also helpful to find witnesses who saw you in the area before the fall who can attest to your ability to ambulate before the accident. These witnesses may become particularly helpful in the event the owner of the property disputes your version of the events.
Fourth, follow the required procedures. If you fall in a store, a public building, or some other quasi-public place, the landowner may have some protocol that you will need to follow in order to be able to have your claim considered. For example, a store may require you to fill out an incident report detailing the accident and its surrounding circumstances. At a bare minimum, make certain that a manager or director is notified of the incident so that they can activate their protocols for this kind of incident. Be cognizant of what information you are given by the manager at the time, particularly statements regarding the hazardous nature of this particular area or claims of recent prior falls.
Finally, as soon as you have gathered your information, photographs, and incident reports, find a reputable personal injury attorney who can evaluate your case and determine what remedies, if any, you may have.