A slip and fall accident should not be taken lightly. According to the WHO, falls are the second leading cause of death globally resulting from unintentional injury.
Slip and fall accidents are prevalent in households and stores. However, in a store, they may fall under a personal injury claim.
If you suffer from this accident while in a store, you should take immediate action and seek compensation for any injuries you may have incurred.
The immediate actions you should take include seeking medical care, obtaining an incident report from the store, saving as much evidence as possible, and getting the help of an attorney to claim compensation.
Let’s dive deeper into this topic and show you your options in this scenario.
What is a Slip and Fall Accident, and What Causes It?
A “slip and fall” is a type of personal injury claim arising when an individual trips or slips and falls, resulting in injury.
A slip and fall accident typically occurs when there’s a dangerous condition on the premise, such as a loose carpet or a wet floor. These obstructions or unexpected conditions come from sources such as:
- Spills of water, other liquid, or food items in the store’s aisles
- Wires, equipment, and other obstructions left in the path of customers
- Merchandise on walkways
- Snow or ice accumulated in the store’s entryway
- Torn carpets, broken floor tiles, and other floor defects
- Poor visibility due to subpar lighting
- Stairstep damage or broken handrails in stairways
- Lack of hazard warnings to cordon off customers
There are many more possible causes of a slip and fall accident. The store’s liability depends on whether they were negligent in these unsafe conditions or not. Typical injuries from a slip and fall accident include:
- Broken bones
- Sprains and strains
- Head injuries
- Back and neck injuries
Some of these injuries can be very serious and life-changing. That’s why seeking legal redress when such accidents occur is important.
What to Do If You Slip and Fall in a Store?
If you slip and fall in a store, the actions you take immediately after the accident will significantly impact the success of your personal injury claim. These are the steps you should take to ensure the best odds of getting compensation while taking care of your health.
Seek Medical Care
If you’re seriously injured, you should call an ambulance immediately. However, if your injuries are not too severe, you can visit the local hospital or your doctor and receive the appropriate medical care. It is advisable to always take this step since slips and falls can sometimes cause internal injuries that only a medical professional can detect before worsening. After receiving the medical care, you should get a copy of all medical records and take pictures of your injuries if possible.
Report the Accident to the Store Manager
If possible, ensure you’ve spoken to the store manager about the accident, and they’ve noted it in an incident report. In most personal injury cases, an incident report dramatically influences the likelihood of getting compensation for your medical expenses from the store’s insurance company. The store manager should document how and what caused you to fall. Without this incident report, the store will not have any record of your slip and fall accident and any wrongful injuries caused by it. Some stores have an official reporting policy, while many don’t. If an official store policy requires a particular report to be filed, ensure you get a copy of that report. If there’s no formal procedure, get the store manager’s company email or mail address and send them an email or letter describing the accident, what caused it, and the date and time it occurred.
Talk to Witnesses and Take Photos
You should take as many photos as possible of the exact location you fell in the store. If you can’t take them, seek help from a willing third party. Your photos should include anything that can help show how the slip and fall accident occurred. Specifically, photos of hazards around the fall area can be invaluable. These include a spill, a puddle, a pothole, or a torn carpet. You should take your photos from multiple angles and distances. Also, have pictures of your injuries and any damage to your shoes or clothing. If possible, you should also get the contact information and names of anyone who witnessed the accident.
Save as Much Evidence as Possible
Save all the evidence you’ve collected and more, if possible. These include incident reports, photos, notes, and medical records. Safely store the clothes and shoes you wore during the accident and any personal items, especially those damaged due to the fall. You should also keep a detailed record of your medical appointments, medication, and prescriptions after the accident. Also, include your total medical expenses and evidence of any financial losses such as missed work days or unemployment.
How to Prove an Injury Claim
To prove an injury claim, you need to show that the store owner did not maintain the store in a reasonably safe condition or failed to warn visitors of hazards within the premises. Maintaining safe premises is the store’s duty. You’ll most likely be compensated for your injuries if you can prove negligence. Negligence is demonstrated by showing that either:
- The store or store employee created an unsafe condition. For instance, a store employee may have used slippery wax to clean the floors or failed to dry a liquid spill on the floor.
- The store or store employee knew or should have known of a hazard but failed to fix it within a reasonable time or provide a clear warning. This applies whether they created the unsafe condition or not. A cone, warning sign, or any other attempt to warn the customer against a hazard should be positioned such that a customer can reasonably see it and heed the warning. The store will most likely be liable for the slip and fall accident if it improperly positioned the warning sign.
Get Help with Your Personal Injury Lawsuit from a Reputable Law Firm
Pursuing a personal injury case in a slip and fall accident requires a lawyer’s help to guarantee the best result. In most cases, lacking a lawyer can result in under-compensation from the store’s insurance company, a lengthy litigation period, or a total lack of compensation.
Talk to a reputable law firm today to get professional help with your slip and fall personal injury case and guarantee success.