One of the most common types of personal injuries that are suffered is in a slip and fall lawsuit. At least one million Americans are injured in these types of accidents every year and some even die in them. If someone else is responsible for the condition that led to your slip and fall accident injury, you may be entitled to financial compensation. The steps that you take after an accident could be crucial in determining whether you are able to be paid compensation for your injury. A slip and fall lawsuit does not happen automatically. Instead, it takes effort on your part to begin the process and effectively pursue your claim. Here are six steps that you should take after a slip and fall accident to put yourself in a position to receive compensation.
Document the Scene of Your Accident
This may be a difficult step to take after you have been injured in a slip and fall accident. The fact that you have been hurt may make it tough to take a full set of pictures of all of the conditions of the accident scene. However, to the extent that you are able, it is vital to capture evidence of the way that the scene looked at the time of your accident. If there was a dangerous condition, make sure that either you or someone else can take pictures of it to be used as evidence for your claim.
Obtain Witness Information
Before you are taken away from the scene of the accident or leave on your own, try to get the contact information and recollections of everyone at the scene who witnessed your fall. Their testimony can be crucial in establishing what happened and what caused your fall.
Learn how you can reach the witnesses along with a brief indication of what they may say if they were called to testify at a trial. It is crucial to write this information down in more than one place so you are not at risk of losing the information if you either misplace a piece of paper or have information wiped out from your phone.
Report the Accident
The owner of the property where the accident occurred needs to be informed of the accident. This should happen at the time when the accident occurred so that you can get a contemporaneous report of the fall. Waiting to report the fall can negatively impact your ability to recover for your accident.
To the extent that there is any injury, you should report the accident from the scene to the police or paramedics so that there is another record from the time of the accident. The more that you have in terms of contemporaneous documentation of reports, the better of a chance that you have of being able to demonstrate for an insurance company or a court what happened at the scene.
When you report an accident several days after it happens, your claim will lose credibility and insurers will question whether your filing is credible at all.
Get Medical Help
If you have suffered any injury whatsoever in the accident, do not refuse an offer of medical assistance. If you walk away from the scene of the accident, you may have a harder time showing that you actually have been injured in the fall. If you even think that there is a chance that you were injured, err on the side of caution in seeking treatment at the scene of your fall. If the paramedics are called, do not turn them away because that may be viewed as evidence that you were not really hurt.
Certainly after the fall, you should seek medical treatment very shortly after the accident. The longer that you wait to get medical help, the more difficult it will be to show that whatever injury you have suffered was the result of the fall.
You will need to have an injury in order to be compensated. If you cannot prove that you were hurt, there is nothing to compensate you for and no damages. The only way that you show that you were hurt is by your medical records or the testimony of a doctor.
Assemble Your Documentation
When your claim is presented to the insurance company for possible reimbursement, you will want to put your best foot forward to persuade them that, not only do you deserve compensation but also what your case is worth. To do so, you will need to make a compelling case with the documentation.
When you put together the file, you should include the evidence that you have along with your medical records. It should be assembled in a logical order to add up to the conclusion that you deserve compensation for your injuries because someone else was at fault.
The insurance company will not only need to see that you were hurt but also that someone else’s carelessness is to blame for your injury. Thus, the documentation will also need to include proof of someone else’s acts or omissions that caused your fall.
Hire an Attorney
Slip and fall cases are more difficult to prove on your own. You must either persuade the insurance company or a court that you have a viable claim that requires payment to you. Insurance companies either may not take you seriously or may not make you an adequate offer to settle your claim.
Many people may not even know the steps that they must take to receive financial compensation after a fall. This is not something that people do on a daily basis so the proper process is not something that they are familiar with or know how to execute.
In addition, after an injury, many people are focused on their health and their recovery and may not be able to pay attention to what is necessary to file the claim. This is how an attorney can help you by focusing on what you need to do to get compensated while you focus on healing from your injuries and getting treatment.
An attorney will let you know if you have a viable claim worth pursuing. Then, if the insurance company makes a settlement offer, the attorney will have an idea of whether the settlement offer is a fair one. Many times, the insurance company will make a low settlement offer to see what you are willing to accept. An attorney will know that you are being lowballed and will either be able to negotiate a better settlement or take the case to court to get you the compensation that you deserve. The Law Offices of Sadaka Associates specializes in slip and fall cases and can aggressively represent you in a lawsuit. Contact them today for a free evaluation of your case.