Slip and Fall Lawsuit in California: Do’s and Don’ts
Many people think slip and fall accidents primarily affect the elderly. However, the truth is that they can happen to anyone, anywhere.
Slip and fall cases account for over 1 million emergency room visits per year, according to the National Floor Safety Institute. Slip and fall or trip and fall incidents may cause serious injuries, including traumatic brain injury, fractures, spinal cord injury, and even death.
Knowing what to do immediately after a slip and fall accident, and in the days and weeks afterward, will make all the difference in your ability to obtain a fair and just settlement — which is essential for covering your medical expenses and fully compensating you for your pain and suffering and other related damages. Slip and fall settlements usually depend on the quality of the information and evidence that you or witnesses collect and document at the scene.
Use this list of do’s and don’ts to guide yourself through the most important steps to take after a slip and fall incident.
What to Do After a Slip and Fall
DO take pictures/video to document the scene and your slip and fall injuries
Use your cell phone camera (or ask someone present) to take pictures of the scene of the accident and your slip and fall injuries so you can refer back to them later and use them as evidence.
Keep in mind that the environmental conditions that caused your accident will be cleaned up, removed, or repaired by the property owners or managers, so it is important that you document them at the time of the incident. Not to mention, swelling and bruising can subside over time, so it helps to have photographic evidence of the full extent of your injuries. Photos can graphically demonstrate the pain and suffering you endured as a result of your injuries.
DO collect contact information from witnesses
Obtain contact information for anyone who witnessed your slip / trip and fall accident, or the conditions that caused or contributed to the accident. Eyewitness testimony can be extremely valuable in proving negligence on the part of the property owner or other liable party in your case.
DO report your injury immediately and fill out an accident report
If the accident took place at a store or place of business, then reporting your slip and fall injury to the property owner or manager not only serves to document the accident, it also sends an important signal that you are taking the situation seriously. Talking to a manager and immediately filling out an incident report is a critical step that will aid you in obtaining the maximum compensation to which you are entitled.
Slip and Fall Accident Report
The goal of a slip and fall accident report is to provide details of the incident and your injuries, as well as to help prove in a future slip and fall lawsuit that the property owner’s negligence resulted in the accident. Fill out the accident report as soon as possible while the details are still fresh in your mind. This is critical for your slip and fall claim.
A slip and fall accident report includes:
- Important details about the accident such as the date, time, and location of the incident
- The names of everyone involved (including the manager / property owner and witnesses)
- Environmental factors such as a slippery floor with no signage, an obstructed walkway, poor lighting, etc.
- Additional circumstances that led to the incident
- Information about your injuries
Do your best to document the series of events that led up to your accident. Say, for example, you had safely walked over a tile floor on your way through a building, but an employee then mopped the floor without putting up a warning sign, and you consequently slipped and fell on your way back through the area. Detailing this sequence of events would be important to proving how the employee’s negligence resulted in your accident.
DO save the clothes and shoes you were wearing during the slip and fall
In slip and fall cases, the defense will often do whatever they can to try to shift the blame to you. They may say you were wearing clothing or shoes that caused a slipping or tripping hazard. Make sure you save the clothes and shoes you were wearing that day so you have the evidence needed to refute these claims.
DO seek immediate medical attention
Even if your injuries do not seem that severe to you, it is important that you seek medical attention as soon as possible after the incident. Being evaluated for injuries is necessary for your own health, and it also formally documents your condition and shows that you are taking the incident seriously. Be sure to keep detailed records of all medical appointments associated with your slip and fall injury, as well as any medical bills.
DO engage an experienced slip and fall lawyer to represent you
Remember — you are up against powerful insurance companies whose primary goal is to protect their financial resources, not to ensure you are fairly compensated for your losses. Without the aid of an experienced slip and fall attorney, most people make crucial errors in the process that result in them receiving significantly less compensation than they are due. You need skilled slip and fall attorneys from Carpenter & Zuckerman on your side from the start!
What You Should NOT DO After a Slip and Fall Accident
DON’T downplay your injuries
Falling in public is an embarrassing situation for most people, and therefore, you might feel compelled to downplay the seriousness of the situation. DON’T do this! If you act like you’re not hurt and then later file an injury claim, the defense will use your words against you and say you’re lying about your injuries.
DON’T admit fault or say too much at the scene
While it is important to report your accident and injuries to the property owner or manager, avoid admitting fault or otherwise offering too much information at the scene. Your goal should be to document the incident and wait until you have the guidance of an experienced slip and fall lawyer before discussing anything further with the at-fault party.
DON’T give a recorded statement
In the days and weeks following your accident, you will likely be contacted by the insurance company, attorney, or private investigator representing the other party. You are under no obligation to give a recorded statement to them, even if they state that it is necessary in order to have your medical expenses covered. Their objective is to gather information to use against you in a legal proceeding.
Always consult with your slip and fall attorney for guidance before offering any information. Your lawyer should be able to handle communications and negotiations with the other party on your behalf.
DON’T accept a settlement without consulting with an attorney
After an accident such as a slip and fall, the at-fault party’s attorney or insurance company will often try to rush you into accepting a settlement. They’re usually just trying to quickly close your case and will offer an amount that is significantly less than the amount to which you are entitled. It is never wise to accept a settlement without first consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney. Take care to never accept a settlement before you know the full extent of your injuries and final cost of your medical expenses.
DON’T post on social media
While it is important to document your accident and injuries with photos, it is never a good idea to share these photos or details about your accident on social media before your case is resolved. In fact, it’s best to keep a low profile on social media in general for the duration of your case. Why? Because the at-fault party can find ways to use your posts against you, even if they seem harmless. For example, an insurance attorney might take photos of you smiling and try to use those to argue that you’re not seriously injured or experiencing pain and suffering. As a result, it’s best to refrain from posting on social media until your case is settled, especially regarding your accident.
A Carpenter & Zuckerman Slip and Fall Lawyer Can Help!
If you are the victim of a slip and fall accident in California and you believe that a property or business owner’s negligence may have caused your accident, contact our team of experienced slip and fall attorneys from Carpenter & Zuckerman.
We serve clients all throughout California and even in other states. We have offices in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, Garden Grove, Irvine, San Diego, Bakersfield, and Las Vegas.
At Carpenter & Zuckerman, we understand that you have already been through enough with your accident. We will leverage our resources and extensive experience to fight for the maximum compensation you deserve! Contact us today at the phone number shown below, or fill out our confidential contact form to arrange a free consultation.
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