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What Should I Do After a Slip and Fall Incident

For over a century now, the amount of personal injury claims have been increasing and this is especially true for those occurring in restaurants, stores, and many other public spaces. As a result, the safety of these areas has improved vastly but this isn't to say that they are completely free from accidents.

elderly lady fallen on cement pubic stairs outdoorsNowadays, businesses are encouraged to install mats wherever there is produce as well as taking many other safety steps to ensure a positive experience for all customers. However, many products are still kept on high shelving and even simple negligence means that no public space can ever be 100% ‘safe’. With a slip and fall accident, the consequences can be severe with injuries to one’s back, neck, or even head. Although we don’t like to think about it, these can have a permanent impact on a life.

If you have been involved in an incident in a store or any other public place, you will find that their insurance company will get in contact because they want to gather evidence or anything that could trip you up later down the line. Even before you know how bad your injuries are, they will ask for a recorded statement to downplay your injuries. At this point, you shouldn't be saying a word because it is relatively easy to harm your own case by accident.

If you want to give yourself the best chance of success and defend your own rights, the first step should always be a personal injury attorney who has experience in this field. By clicking to come to this page, we assume that you are considering this step and we applaud you for questioning because many people don’t. Even if you aren't ready to hire an attorney just yet, allow us to explain the steps somebody in your position should take.

Step 1: No Recorded Statement - Although we have already touched upon this previously, we cannot understate the importance of avoiding a recorded statement because this could prevent your claim from being successful before it even gets off the ground. Today, companies are sneaky and they might phrase it as a ‘telephone Q&A’ or something similar but avoid contact with them altogether. Unfortunately, these people are skilled in what they do and they know how to get the right answers so this statement will come back to haunt you and your claim.

In truth, there is absolutely nothing to be gained from contacting the company despite what they say. At this point, you might not know your injuries and you may not have all the details so there is no need to trap yourself into this forced statement which may not even reveal the truth. Known as ‘claim adjusters’, these representatives of the insurance company have no right to a recorded statement so bear this in mind. By law, you do not have to give the company anything so protect your claim.

Step 2: Visit a Medical Professional - If you haven't done so already, the next step should see you visit a medical professional so they can assess any injuries you may have; from here, they can put you on the right treatment plan. Although you may ‘feel fine’, not all injuries will make themselves clear immediately so it is always best to see a professional just in case as they know exactly for what they should be looking. If a new symptom or issue develops, there is no reason why you cannot go back after the initial check if the doctor doesn’t spot any major concerns.

When with the specialist, make sure they know all the details such as the duration between incident and health problem. Sometimes, injuries develop and you might start to notice a lack of mobility a few days after the fall; often, swelling worsens over time before it starts leaning on nerves or the tissue surrounding the area.

By receiving treatment immediately, the incident can be blamed for any injuries. The longer you leave it to receive treatment, the harder it is to pin the injury to the incident and this can be a problem for your claim. Just like the company wanted proof the incident wasn't so bad with a statement, you need proof of your injuries and this comes from a medical professional.

Step 3: Adhere to Medical Treatment - When visiting the medical professional, you should have received some instructions on how to bring your injuries back to full health. For example, it might include a course of medication, therapy, rest, or even referrals to see specialists. At all times, you will need to see this treatment through and this is for two main reasons.

Firstly, nothing good can ever come of not treating the injury and trying to keep your health in a bad way. Later down the line, your health may still be poor and you will have wished you followed the suggested treatment. Secondly, the insurer will notice that you aren't following treatment and they will think that your injury isn't actually that bad. If you are happy to ignore professional medical advice and do your own thing, it looks as though you aren't really affected at all. If you claim long-term damage to your health, the defendant will simply say that it is your fault because you didn't follow medical advice.

Step 4: Keep the Evidence - When it comes to proving your claim in the best way, you are going to need some evidence and this includes the clothes you were wearing at the time of the incident. After taking them off, don’t even wash them because liquid or powder stains may prove why you slipped in the first place. When this substance is seen on your clothing, it will be easy to assess the severity of the problem.

Aside from this, we also suggest keeping any pictures you took at the time. If you haven't taken any just yet, you can help your case by going back to the public location and snapping the layout and nearby equipment. As long as it looks just as it did when your accident occurred, it will be good enough for your case because it gives context and it prevents a store, for example, from rearranging their layout before the case is heard. Finally, you should keep hold of medical bills and any receipts you receive along the way.

Step 5: Take Notes - With slip and fall cases, the key factor is information so you should be looking to keep notes pertaining to your injury as well as the treatment as time moves forward. Let’s face it, a case like this isn't going to resolve itself the next day so you need to write down all information as it happens. Additionally, you need to write every single detail you remember about the accident including the exact location, who was around, whether anybody saw it, what you were doing, who helped, whether you completed an accident form, and where you went next. Once again, information is king so feel free to write down how you felt immediately after and who was to blame.

If the injuries are severe enough, you are likely to see a number of different physicians and specialists so these details could also play a role. When making notes, make sure you include dates and times too because this shows how important it is to you and it avoids questions later in the process. After seeing doctors, write down how you felt and where the pain occurred in your body. Of course, you may also have to take time from work so note the hours you miss each day.

At times, it can be hard to remember if your accident was a few days previously but anything you can remember will help your case. As mentioned, the claims adjuster will try to lead you on and insert false information into your memory so be strong and review everything you saw.

Step 6: Forget Social Media - Nowadays, social media plays a huge role in most of our lives whether we like to post every day or just catch up on what everyone has been doing. In a personal injury claim, social media can be crucial so do not post anything about your injury, the incident, or any ongoing case. Just like the recorded statement to the insurance company, you won’t be able to backtrack on any posts later so avoiding posting altogether will prevent any comments downplaying your injury; even a simple picture of you smiling will give the wrong impression.

In recent years, sites like Twitter and Facebook have been used in cases like this because people think it is a private haven where nobody can see what happens. Unfortunately, the whole world can see which is why an attorney can be so helpful; they can provide advice as to what is and isn't ok.

Step 7: FMLA Leave - Although this doesn’t necessarily fall into the context of your claim, you will qualify for FMLA leave if your injuries are severe enough so don’t be afraid to take time from work. Without FMLA leave, you are unprotected and your job becomes vulnerable. Even if you don’t use it, it’s always best to have it there.

Step 8: Consider a Personal Injury Attorney - At this stage in the process, you have done everything you can possible do. However, you will be fairly limited moving forward from here which is why we suggest a personal injury attorney just like The Injury Firm here in Fort Lauderdale. At this stage, the insurance company will still be trying to trick you into taking a misstep and we can keep you protected at every step of the way.

Often, people are mistaken into thinking that claims are only there to cover medical bills but this isn't the case. In fact, you could be entitled to lost wages, pain and suffering, any future medical costs, loss of mobility, future loss of earnings, disfigurement, and more. With most claim adjusters, they tend to rely on people not knowing this information but a personal injury attorney knows everything there is to know so will get you the best results. Sadly, not every case will see all these costs recovered but at least you have a professional by your side who has been through situations just like yours previously.

Step 9: Do Not Exaggerate - Although you might laugh at first, you would be surprised by how many people try to exaggerate their injuries thinking that they can earn some extra money. As soon as you lie, there is a distortion between the facts and your version of the facts; remember, claims adjusters are highly skilled and experienced so will spot this difference very quickly.

Even if you think you have the most perfect exaggeration going, you are up against professionals who have seen it all. Naturally, they question everything and they assess the physical evidence multiple times throughout the case. If you are proven to have exaggerated just one factor, suddenly everything could be exaggerated and you could be lying about the severity of your injuries. When you have injuries, they are what they are so be honest and remember that claims are for more than just medical bill recuperation.

Step 10: Never Contact the Store - Assuming that your injury took place in a store, never get in contact with them and avoid their approaches just the same. Earlier, we mentioned the role of the claims adjuster but sometimes the store will use attorneys to get in touch or even a manager from the company. Sometimes, they try to get the victim to visit their own physician or offer a settlement outright. Until you have contacted a personal injury attorney, do not agree on a settlement and do not offer any information. Once again, you are in charge and you can avoid them if you see fit.

Ultimately, you will always be in a better position with a personal injury attorney because they can tell you what is and isn't necessary. With this in mind, they will support your decisions, explain how everything works, and help you to achieve the result you desire! 

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Disclaimer

The information contained in this website is provided for informational purposes only.  This website may contain information about The Injury Firm's past results, testimonials about the firm or a lawyer within the firm, and statements regarding the quality of The Injury Firm's work product. This information has not been reviewed or approved by The Florida Bar. Please be advised that: 1) the facts and circumstances of your case may differ from the matters for which results and testimonials have been provided: 2) Not all results of cases handled by the firm or its lawyers are provided and not all clients have given testimonials; and 3) The results and testimonials provided are not necessarily representative of results obtained by the firm or by its lawyers or of the experience of all clients or others within the firm or its lawyers. Every case is different, and each client’s case must be evaluated and handled on its own merits.

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Phone (954) 951-0000
Fax: (954) 951-1000

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