Common Mistakes People Make After a Slip and Fall Injury
Slip and fall accidents are far too common. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that over one million Americans suffer injuries due to slips or trips each year – and that 17,000 die as a result. Even if they survive, victims may experience considerable physical pain and mental trauma in the years or decades following these accidents.
While slip and fall injury settlements provide at least a semblance of relief in the aftermath of an incident, they can’t automatically be counted on. Unfortunately, a variety of mistakes can have a devastating impact on the outcome of such cases, making it more difficult for victims to secure the damages they deserve. Below, we’re discussing what to do after a slip and fall injury and several common mistakes to avoid.
Not Reporting the Accident to the Police or Property Management
Your desire to get up and leave the scene of the accident is understandable, especially if you are in pain or have been emotionally shaken by your fall. Unfortunately, a swift departure could significantly compromise your case. Instead, speak with the property’s manager or supervisor. This interaction should be brief and polite. The primary goal is to gain another source of documentation, which can be called upon later to prove that management was aware of the fall and its purported cause.
While it’s critical to inform personnel of the accident, stop short of providing a full statement. Don’t answer extensive questions about your fall until you can get in touch with a trusted slip and fall attorney. Seemingly innocuous statements can ultimately be used against you, so less is more. Simple awareness of the accident should prove sufficient.
In addition to notifying management, don’t hesitate to contact law enforcement officials. They can file reports detailing the time and date of the fall, as well as contact information, injury descriptions, and other details surrounding the scene of the incident.
Failing to Provide Sufficient Documentation of the Fall
Proving that slip and fall incidents occurred can be surprisingly difficult, even if your injuries clearly match up to the stated circumstances of the accident. Evidence is key not only for verifying that you suffered a fall, but also to demonstrate the role of negligence. This can take many forms, including:
- Medical Records – Visit a hospital or clinic promptly. Your doctor can verify and treat your injuries while keeping meticulous records.
- Footage of the Accident – One of the most reliable and effective forms of evidence, videos and photos can help you prove that the accident occurred on-premise. Additionally, footage may highlight the negligence that prompted the fall in the first place. For example, videos of a gas station or grocery store may reveal a spill that was not cleaned with sufficient haste – followed by the fall that was bound to occur under such circumstances.
- Incident Reports – These may be completed by store personnel or other employees after your fall. They typically highlight the date and time of the accident, as well as other relevant details.
Failing to Gather Contact Information from Witnesses
Did anyone witness your fall? These individuals could provide a powerful testimony featuring detailed information of the circumstances surrounding your accident. Contact information (such as names, emails, and phone numbers) is critical so that you or your attorney can get in touch as needed. Without such information, it may prove virtually impossible to track down witnesses or even remember who was present in the first place.
If you go through the trouble of securing contact information from witnesses, be sure to follow up with them quickly. The more time passes, the fuzzier their memories of the incident will be.
Neglecting to Take Pictures or Record a Video
While video footage of the accident could prove one of the most valuable forms of evidence, documentation of the scene can also be helpful. If possible, take several pictures of the site of your fall, as well as photos of contributing factors. Images depicting spills, ice, or other obstructions will prove particularly useful later on. These pictures should also highlight whether warning signs or other precautionary measures were present at the time of the fall.
If you do not feel up to taking pictures on your own, consider asking a friend or family member to do so instead. Take notes to accompany each photo so that you can later remember what it shows and why it’s important.
Don’t stop with photos featuring the scene of the accident. A variety of other images can also prove helpful. For example, if the fall impacted your clothes or shoes, this can easily be documented. Pictures of wet shoes or splattered clothing are especially powerful.
If you have any doubt as to whether a particular photo is necessary, take it anyway – it’s impossible to know in the moment which images will be most useful later on. Prompt photos are critical, as employees have been known to hastily clean up accident scenes or place warning signs in the immediate aftermath of falls.
Skipping Doctor Appointments
Medical appointments might seem like a hassle, but they can make or break your slip and fall case. In addition to completing an initial assessment, continue to visit your doctor to monitor the progress of your recovery. Ongoing visits are particularly important for concussions, soft tissue injuries, and other sources of damage that may not be immediately evident in the aftermath of your fall. Some symptoms take several hours or even days to develop, and these should also be documented to demonstrate the lengthy nature of your recovery.
Assuming That the Location of Your Fall Doesn’t Matter
While slip and fall cases are typically associated with retail premises, they can occur in a wide variety of locations. Falls on sidewalks and in properties managed by landlords are surprisingly common. These accidents should be thoroughly documented with photos and witness statements to ensure that the appropriate parties are held accountable. For example, falls that occur in the common space of an apartment complex may indicate negligence on the part of the landlord or property manager.
Waiting to Get in Touch with a Respected Slip and Fall Attorney
Prompt legal representation is key in the aftermath of a slip and fall accident. In the chaos surrounding the incident, you may struggle to remember the essentials highlighted above. However, your attorney can assist with collecting evidence while also reducing the potential for accidental self-incrimination. The sooner you contact a trusted legal representative, the better.
Were you injured in a slip and fall accident? Don’t hesitate to seek a slip and fall lawyer serving Hartford, New Haven, New London, and all of CT. The attorneys at McCoy & McCoy can be a vital resource during this difficult time. Highly trusted throughout the state of Connecticut, our legal team has successfully handled numerous slip and fall lawsuits over the past 50 years. We personally investigate all cases that we take on to ensure the best possible outcome. To get started, call (860) 500-1642 or complete a case evaluation form.