What to Do After Being Injured in A Department Store
Just as its name suggests, a slip and fall accident occurs when someone slips, falls to the ground, and injures himself. This may sound like something you would see in a funny movie or TV show, but a slip and fall accident is nothing to laugh about. Slip and fall victims often suffer serious injuries, including spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injuries, and broken bones.
These accidents can happen on any type of private or public property, including department stores. Customers at department stores may slip on wet floors, clutter that is blocking the walkways, torn carpeting, or uneven flooring. Many customers injure themselves before they even get into the store by tripping over potholes or cracks in the concrete parking lots. What should you do if this happens to you? Follow these steps if you’ve been injured in a department store:
Nothing is as important as your health and safety, so this should be your first priority in the moments following a slip and fall accident. If you have been injured, do not attempt to move until help has arrived. Instead of trying to get up, call for help on your cell phone or try to yell out to those around you.
If you do not need emergency medical assistance, it’s still in your best interest to visit a doctor as soon as possible after the accident. The symptoms of your injury may not be immediately observable, so even if you think that you only have a minor injury, this could become much worse over time. For this reason, it’s best to see a doctor right away so that you can be sure that you’re okay.
Collect Evidence From the Scene of the Accident
Victims that do not need emergency medical assistance should focus on gathering evidence from the scene of the slip and fall accident. Use your smartphone to take pictures of the scene both up close and from a distance. Make sure that no one that comes to see if you need help moves anything from its place at the scene of the accident. For example, if you tripped over something that fell off of a shelf, try to photograph the object before it is removed by a store employee. It’s recommended that you take as many pictures as possible, even if you think that what you’re capturing is insignificant. Every detail that is included in these images can be used to prove liability later on in your personal injury case, so these pictures are important.
Make Contact With Witnesses
Did anyone see you slip and fall? Department stores are typically filled with people, so it’s very likely that another customer or an employee at the store saw what happened. If you can, approach anyone that saw you slip and fall and ask for their contact information. If you have time, you may even want to ask them what they saw so you can get a brief statement from them while their memory is still fresh.
There may be witnesses that rush to the scene after you have fallen. These witnesses may not have seen you fall, but they can still add value to your case if they are able to talk about the conditions of the store or the hazard that caused your fall. Ask for their contact information as well so your attorney can reach out to them if their testimony is needed.
File A Report With the Department Store
You should never leave a department store after a fall without letting someone that works at the store know about what happened. Most of the time, an employee will rush to your side after you fall, but if this doesn’t happen, make sure that you find someone to talk to before you go.
The department store will probably ask you to provide them with detailed information so they can fill out an official report. Be very careful when providing this information. You should never admit that you were partly or totally to blame for the accident and don’t comment on any symptoms that you are experiencing, either. Stick to the facts—describe what caused you to slip, where it happened, and how you fell.
Listen carefully to what the employee is saying as she fills out the report. Did she mention that she knew that the store should have fixed the hazard that caused your fall? Did she say that another customer fell in the same place just last week? This information can be used to help you recover compensation in your case, so make a mental note and don’t forget to tell your attorney about what was said.
If possible, get a copy of the report once the employee has finished filling it out. Then, ask for the employee’s name so you know who you spoke with.
Contact An Attorney
The next item on your to-do list should be getting in touch with an experienced personal injury attorney. This must be done as soon as possible—especially for slip and fall cases that occur in public places. Why? Your attorney will need to contact the department store right away to request any surveillance footage that may have captured the accident. But, surveillance footage is often destroyed after just a few days, which means time is of the essence. This is just one of the many reasons why you will need a personal injury attorney on your case quickly.
Have you been injured in a slip and fall accident at a department store? If so, seek legal representation from an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Contact Carpenter & Zuckerman today to schedule a free consultation with our team of knowledgeable lawyers. We will work tirelessly to help you recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
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