How to properly preserve your slip and fall claim
Author: Attorney Jason Macri
What should I do after a slip and fall?
Many people are under the impression that if they slip and fall at a store, then the store is automatically negligent. They assume that the store will be responsible to them for their injuries and will compensate them for their medical bills as well as their pain and suffering. This could not be further from the truth. In order to be successful in a negligence claim against a Florida store for a slip and fall, one must prove that the store employees either knew, or should have known about the dangerous condition which caused the fall. It may seem that it would be easy to prove a store either knew or should have known about the existence of a particular condition but the truth is that many store employees are unwilling to admit any wrongdoing. When their job is on the line, they will distort the truth to avoid getting fired. This is why it is extremely important to preserve any and all evidence regarding your slip and fall claim.
Make a mental note of witnesses
After a fall, most people are not looking around in an effort to determine whether there were any witnesses. Though it is not on most people’s mind, finding out who witnessed your fall is extremely important. Witnesses may be able to give you a wealth of information such as; what caused you to fall, where you fell, and who else witnessed it. They may even be able to tell you how long the dangerous condition existed and whether store employees knew of the condition prior to your fall. Having a witness provide this type of information is invaluable and will surely help prove that the store was negligent.
Report your incident immediately
It is extremely important to report your incident to the store manager as soon as possible. Ask the manager to create an incident report documenting what happened to you. Ask the store manager if you can have a copy of the report. Though many stores will not give customers a copy of the report, they may have a duty to provide you a copy if you actually wrote information into the report or signed the report. Not notifying the store manager of your fall is a sure fire way to have your claim rejected. The store will either deny that you even fell at their location or that you were ever injured there. If you do not notify the store manager of your fall, there will be no way to later prove that it ever happened. Report your incident immediately and ask to speak with the store manager!
Most people have cell phones that also have cameras. People typically have their cell phones on them at all times. If you slip and fall at a store and have your camera-phone handy, take a picture! Photograph the area where you fell. Start by taking close-ups of the area where you fell and then take photos of the surrounding areas to be able to prove where in the store you fell. Ask the store manager to take their own photos as well. Though you may not be entitled to their photos, the fact that they have photos of the dangerous condition that caused your fall may help you when it comes time for the store’s insurance company to evaluate your case.
This may seem obvious but it is very important to determine what caused you to fall. If you fell on a puddle of liquid, try and find out what the liquid is and where it came from. Try to determine if it is water, soda or some other fluid. Look around to see if the liquid is coming from a leak in the roof or a refrigerator. Look around and see if there are any bottles containing fluid in the area. It is very important that you try and identify the source of the dangerous condition.
Keep your evidence
Though most people may want to discard the cola-soaked clothing they were wearing when they fell, it is best to keep these clothes as evidence. You should place the clothes in a plastic bag and put them somewhere safe. Do not wash the clothes before putting them away as you may wash off the substance that caused your fall. Keep the shoes you were wearing as well. This will help prove that your footwear did not cause you to fall but instead, it was the store’s dangerous condition that caused your fall.
Call the Law Office of Dell and Schaefer
Following these rules is not a foolproof way to prove negligence but it will certainly help. You will be providing your lawyer with a treasure-trove of information that can be used to help prove your case. If you slip and fall due to the negligence of another, call the Law Offices of Dell and Schaefer. We will help to ensure that your claim is properly preserved so that you can get the compensation you deserve.