The sad truth is that, at some point in life, we all slip, trip, and fall around the house. After all, household injuries are among the most common reasons people end up in hospitals’ emergency rooms. While many of us get up and brush off the pain, getting on with our lives, you should be aware that slips, trips, and falls do require medical attention, even if the accident occurred in your living room. The situation becomes even more complicated when your accident and injuries take place in someone else’s house or property – like a store or a business office. What do you do then?
Slip, Trip, and Fall Accidents Are both Medical and Legal Problems
According to health specialists, some of the most common household accidents that put people in hospitals are falls, cuts, accidental poisoning, burns, and injuries caused by fire hazards, drowning, and so on. Similar accidents occurring outside the house include slipping on a store’s wet floor, tripping over a wire in an office, or falling on an icy patch in a parking lot. More than tackling such events as medical issues that need immediate resolution, you should also consider the legal matters arising from such an accident.
Since any coin has two sides, you should also act so that nobody slips, trips, and falls while visiting your home or place of business, because you might be liable for their injuries. Unfortunately, while you took all the precautions to make your kitchen the safest place on Earth, you cannot state to a certainty that others have done the same.
If you suffered some injuries in someone else’s home or place of business – or in a public place for that matter, you have to understand what you need to do immediately after a slip and fall accident. Slips and falls have the potential of leading to severe medical issues, debilitating conditions, and even death. By law, all property owners have the responsibility to keep their premises reasonably safe and free from any hazards. In case such accidents generated medical bills, time spent in the hospital, wage losses or pain and suffering, the property’s owner negligence comes into question.
What to Do If You Get Hurt in a Slip, Trip, and Fall Accident on Someone Else’s Property
The law is intricate in slip and fall accidents, and, as usual, it varies across states. However, law experts agree that no matter where the accident occurred, you need to take immediate steps to ensure you preserve your health and receive compensation for your injuries.
1. Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Wet floors, icy walkways, inappropriately signaled dangerous areas, unanchored rugs, and a host of other issues can lead to slips, trips, and falls. In this case, you should immediately see a doctor for correct treatment and damage documentation. The thorough evaluation of your wounds – no matter how insignificant – can help an attorney make a case for you should you seek compensation for your injuries.
It is crucial that you do not miss the following doctor’s appointments and that you follow the treatment to a tee. Some states can dismiss personal injury or slip & fall claims if the victim interrupts medication or fails to follow the scheduled meetings with the doctor.
2. Report the Incident
You can file an official complaint and report to the administration of the mall where you slipped on the wet floor, but can you report an accident occurring in your friends’ house? Yes. The law states that you can write a detailed report of the accident, describing everything that took place, and have your friend sign it. Or, better yet, ask your friend to write the statement and give you a signed copy.
3. Document Everything
It is hard to think about lawsuits and witness testimonies with a broken leg, but you should.
· Take your smartphone out and photograph the accident scene and premises.
· Document the slippery floor, icy stairs, and lack of warning signs, and anything else that might have contributed to your accident.
· Try talking to witnesses, getting their full names, addresses, and phone numbers/emails.
· Take note of all aspects of your accident: date and time, what you were doing before the accident, how you fell, etc.
· If paramedics take you to the hospital, ask them to preserve in a safe storage space your shoes and clothes, as they might become evidence in a potential lawsuit.
4. Refrain from Commenting or Giving Statements
Apart from filing or receiving a report of your accident, limit your communications with the property owners, even if they are your kid’s godparents. Do not talk to witnesses or a store’s employees about your accident. Please do not post on social media details about it. Do not take any partial or complete blame for the accident and do not place blame on others.
5. Hire an Attorney
As we said in the beginning, a slip & fall accident might become a legal matter if your injuries led to piles of medical bills, days off from work, a debilitating condition, etc. Before you call your insurance company to ask for information, hire an attorney. Most slip, trip, and fall accidents are incredibly hard to prove, and even lawyers have a hard time navigating the legal maze of your state, county, insurance policy, etc.
It would be best if you hired an attorney specialized in slip and falls accidents in your state. Look for a firm with a rich portfolio of won cases that can settle the matter on your behalf, mitigate issues with your insurance agency, or even build a case that could go to court. The bottom line, you need lawyers with experience, knowledge, and a good track record to recover money and even obtain pain and suffering damages for you.
One critical takeaway from all this is to make sure your home or business is safe for other people, as you have a duty of care towards others, just like others should have a duty of care for you. Such accidents are 100% preventable if we put our minds to it.
In case you are the victim of a trip, slip, and fall event, place your health above all else and only then find the ways to seek compensation for your trauma.