A person may suffer many different types of injuries in a slip-and-fall accident, including broken bones (particularly arm and hip fractures), head trauma and back and spine injuries.
When a fall and injuries are due to a property owner’s negligence, the injured person has a right to seek compensation for his or her medical bills and other losses. Unfortunately, the property owner and its insurance company may dispute your claim or at least try to pay you less than you deserve.
It is important to act promptly to protect your rights if you have been injured in a slip- or trip-and-fall accident. You should:
1. Get medical treatment without delay.
In addition to treating your injuries, a doctor’s examination will document the fact that you were hurt in the slip-and-fall accident, which will be primary evidence if you have a claim. It is important to follow your doctor’s orders for treatment. If you do not obtain treatment as ordered, the opposing side in a claim may argue that you were not hurt.
2. Report your accident.
If you fell at a business – and you are able to – make sure management knows of your accident and injury. Request a copy of an accident report. If police were summoned, ask how to get a copy of that report.
3. Take photos of your injuries and, if possible, the site of the fall.
Take photos that depict the cause of your accident. For example, get wide shots of the area that contains the hazard, which would show there were no warning signs. If you slipped and fell because of a wet and/or slippery floor, take a photo before the area is cleaned. Also, take photos of your bruises, bandages, cast, neck brace and other signs of your injury.
4. Maintain a case file.
Save all documents connected to your case, including medical bills, records of other accident-related expenses, correspondence with insurance companies and any records that document absences from work resulting in lost income. Write down what happened that day leading up to your accident. If you were out shopping before you fell, write down where you went and what you ate or drank and how your accident happened.
5. Retain the clothes and shoes you wore on the day of the accident.
Do not wash them or clean them in any way. Any damage, dirt or blood on your clothes may be evidence of the seriousness of your fall.
6. Do not accept blame or assign blame.
Establishing fault in a slip-and-fall accident requires an investigation. For this reason, you should neither assign nor accept blame for the accident until the case has been thoroughly reviewed by professionals.
Refrain from giving any statements to the property owner’s insurance company until you have talked with your attorney. Do not sign anything from the property owner or any insurance company.
Also, be careful about what comments or photos you post to social media, like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
7. Meet with a lawyer.
A lawyer experienced with slip-and-fall cases in New Jersey can provide valuable assistance to you after an accident. At Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., we can provide a free initial consultation and preliminary investigation of your case. If you have a settlement offer, we can review it for you. Above all, we can help you to avoid mistakes that may prevent you from obtaining compensation you deserve. Contact us today to discuss your case.