What to Do After a Slip and Fall Accident

slip and fall sign

Picture this: you are out grocery shopping, looking for all the items on your list, and suddenly, you slip on liquid on the floor, causing your leg to jut out at an angle as you fall. This is an incredibly common occurrence, and yet one fall like this can change your life, as the injuries that come with slip and fall accidents can be serious and require life-long treatment. So, how can you best protect yourself after a slip and fall accident? Here are ten things you should do to take care of yourself and preserve your potential claim after a slip and fall accident.

Report your accident

After your slip and fall accident, call out for help to get the attention of a store employee. Do not move until they come to your assistance, because you do not know the extent of your injuries. Be sure to report your fall to the manager on duty or the owner of the store and have them file a report. If the store does not have a reporting procedure, be sure to get the owner or manager’s email address and report the incident to them in writing with a description of the incident, the date and time that it happened, and a description of your injuries. If the police or paramedics respond to the scene, request a written copy of their report for your records.

Seek medical attention

Depending on the severity of your fall, you may need to be taken to the hospital, particularly if you hit your head. If you cannot call 911, have someone else near you make the call. Be sure to cooperate with emergency responders when they arrive and let them know anything that is bothering you. This is not the time to be brave, you will need to be treated for any injuries to create a record of treatment. A good rule of thumb is to seek treatment within 48 hours of your slip and fall accident.

Gather witness information

If anyone saw your slip and fall accident, be sure to get their contact information, as eyewitness testimony is important in slip and fall accidents. You should ask the witness for their first and last name, email address, mailing address, and phone number. This will make staying in contact easier. If anyone is willing, ask if you can record a statement from them at the scene, as their memory will be fresh in that moment. A written statement is also helpful, just be sure it is coherent and legible.

Take photos of the scene

Be sure to take multiple photographs of what made you fall and the surrounding area. This can help show that a puddle of water, spilled milk, or stray food item was on the ground long enough that the store knew or should have known that it was there and failed to do anything about it. Take photos from multiple angles to make sure that the thing that caused your fall is visible, as this will be your only opportunity to preserve evidence at the scene. Once your fall occurs, the store employees will clean up the substance that caused your slip and fall accident quickly. You should also document any visible injuries you sustained as a result of your fall, including any cuts, bruises, or swelling in your knees or other body parts. If any of your clothing or personal items are damaged in the fall, document those items as well.

Make notes about what happened and its effect on you

As soon as you get home, either from the store or from seeking medical treatment, take detailed notes about the events leading up to your fall, including the exact location (and store number, if you fell at a corporate chain), and what exactly it was you fell on. You will need this information to file a claim. As you seek treatment for your injuries, keep ongoing records of your treatment, including the doctors you are seen by, any treatments you receive, and any medications you are required to take as a result of your slip and fall accident. You should keep records of how your injuries affect your life, including time missed at work, and any activities you can no longer do or find difficult to do, and any special occasions you have to miss as a result of your injuries.

Keep a file saving any documentation from your slip and fall accident

It can be difficult to keep multiple medical bills, witness contact information, and correspondence from store owners and insurance companies organized. Keeping all this information in a file will help you preserve your claim. Be sure to keep a copy of the incident report, any photos taken, and any damaged personal property in the file as well.

Be careful when talking to insurance companies

After reporting your slip and fall accident, you may hear from an insurance adjuster from the store’s insurance company. Be very careful when you talk to them, as it is their job to pay you as little as possible for your claim, so they will look for any opportunity to minimalize your slip and fall accident. Do not admit any fault for your slip and fall, and do not minimize your injuries. Let them know the full extent to which you were hurt after your fall. Do not sign anything presented to you by an insurance company without seeking legal advice. They may attempt to get you to sign a release for your claim before you know the extent of your injuries.

Do not publicize your fall or your intention to seek legal advice on social media

In fact, avoid social media altogether after your slip and fall accident. Any discussion of your incident should be between you, your doctor, and your legal team. Any posts you made may be discoverable if you need to file a lawsuit, and they can severely damage your potential claim. Be aware that even posting everyday activities can damage your claim, particularly if you have said that you are no longer able to do those activities because of your injuries.

Don’t worry about the consequences for the at-fault party

Do not feel guilty about protecting your interests by filing a claim against the store, even if it is a local store. Businesses will be covered by a liability insurance policy or a homeowner’s insurance policy, so you will not be seeking compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, or pain and suffering directly from a business owner or manager. Be sure to remain objective and stick to the facts when making decisions related to filing a claim for your injuries. Business owners and their employees have a duty to keep you safe while on their premises, and must be held accountable for failing to do so.

Talk to a knowledgeable premises liability attorney about your slip and fall accident

In March of 2023, the Florida legislature signed HB 837 into law, creating major changes in our State’s premises liability law. You will want to find a lawyer who is well aware of how these changes may affect your potential claim and can work with you to preserve your rights. For a free consultation regarding your slip and fall cases under Florida’s updated premises liability law, contact Carey Leisure Carney now.

At Carey Leisure Carney, our attorneys are well versed in the changes that came with the 2023 Tort Reform and HB 837. In fact, our Founding Partner, Thomas Carey, traveled around the State when the law was first passed and educated other attorneys on the changes that the new laws brought. With over 100 years’ combined experience representing clients in slip and fall accidents, the attorneys at Carey Leisure Carney are experienced in helping our clients preserve their claims. If you have recently experienced a slip and fall accident, call Carey Leisure Carney at 727-799-3900 for a free consult today!