A slip-and-fall accident may not sound serious to someone who has never experienced one. However, if you have been in a slip and fall, then you know how these accidents can be extremely serious. In fact, slip and falls can cause long-term brain and head injuries, broken bones, spinal cord injuries and more.
If you have been injured in a slip and fall in New Jersey, you may be wondering what to do next. Here is a list of 10 steps you should take as soon as possible, including reaching out to an experienced slip-and-fall attorney.
1. Seek medical help.
The first thing that you should do after a slip-and-fall accident is to get medical help. You should seek medical care even if you do not believe your injuries to be serious – if it turns out that your injuries are serious (such as a concussion, the effects of which are often not experienced until hours after the accident occurs), it may seem suspicious that you did not seek care immediately. However, the chances that your slip-and-fall injuries will be serious are high – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one out of every five slip and falls results in a serious injury. When this is the case, do not wait to seek medical care.
2. Refrain from giving a recorded statement to the insurance company.
After a slip-and-fall, an insurance company will likely contact you and ask for a recorded statement. While this may seem harmless enough, do not give a statement unless your attorney is present. Your words may be used against you at a later date if not chosen carefully. Best practices when speaking with an insurance company include keeping it short and succinct, remaining polite, never signing anything and stating that you do not want to give a statement without the presence of your attorney.
3. Keep a diary of your injuries.
After you are injured in a slip-and-fall accident, you should keep a journal of your injuries, your treatment, how you are feeling during the healing process, any limitations you have experienced as a direct result of the injury and anything that you can remember about how and when the slip-and-fall accident occurred. The more thorough of a diary and record that you keep, the better.
4. Gather evidence.
You should collect and document as much evidence as you can about the slip-and-fall accident and your slip-and-fall injuries. This may include doctors’ reports and medical bills as well as specifics concerning the cause of your slip-and-fall injury. If possible, take pictures of the slip-and-fall site immediately after your accident. Was the carpet torn and dangerous, causing the injury? Was snow or ice present? Any evidence that you can collect that proves the negligence of the at-fault party is vital.
5. Report the slip and fall to the proper party.
When a slip and fall happens, it is important that you report it to the right person. If it happened at a store, then report it to the store manager or owner. If it happened at an apartment building, report it to the building manager or landlord. if it happened on public property, report it to non-emergency police.
6. Collect witnesses’ information.
If there were any witnesses to your slip-and-fall accident, make sure you collect their information as soon as possible. Then, contact them and get a recorded statement about what they saw. Try to do this as soon as possible. A witness’ memory can fade with time – the sooner that you get a statement, the more accurate that statement is likely to be. If the statement supports your theory of the property’s owner negligence, you may be able to use this statement during the claims or lawsuit recovery process.
7. Follow the doctor’s orders.
If you do not attend all your scheduled doctor’s appointments and follow your doctor’s orders, then an insurance adjuster or jurors presiding over your case may have difficulty believing that your injuries are as severe as you let on. To help substantiate your injury claim, make sure that you do exactly as your doctor requests and follow your treatment plan to a T.
8. Limit your social media usage.
Believe it or not, using social media can have a negative effect on your claim after a slip-and-fall accident. Status updates and photos that imply that you are having a good time or participating in certain physical activities may make it look as though you are not nearly as injured as you claim to be. The best thing to do after a serious slip-and-fall accident is to limit your social media use or put your accounts on hold until your claim is resolved.
9. Determine who is liable for your Injuries and why.
If your injury occurred on someone else’s property, did the injury occur because the property owner failed to maintain the property in a safe condition? If so, then the property owner may be liable for all damages that you have incurred. An attorney can help you to understand negligence and how it relates to your case.
10. Hire a slip-and-fall attorney.
When you are wondering what to do after a slip-and-fall accident in Teaneck and other areas of New Jersey, your best option is to call an experienced slip-and-fall attorney as soon as possible. A slip-and-fall lawyer can answer all of your questions about what to do after a slip-and-fall accident and guide you through the process of filing a claim and proving liability.
When you call the team at Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., our New Jersey slip-and-fall attorneys will quickly get to work on gathering evidence for your claim and exploring your options for a recovery. Because the time limit for filing a claim is only two years, contact us online or call us today for a free case consultation.