Knowing what to do after a slip and fall accident can help protect you financially and physically. Below, we detail the six steps you should take after a slip and fall.
- Step 1: Seek medical attention
- Step 2: Report the accident
- Step 3: Retrieve copies of the accident report
- Step 4: Keep a journal
- Step 5: Document losses
- Step 6: Contact a lawyer
Step 1: Seek Medical Treatment
Seeking medical attention immediately following your accident helps diagnose any injuries you may have sustained. In addition to protecting you physically, it helps tie your injuries to the accident, which is the basis for your injury claim. Without any injuries, you cannot file a claim.
Continuing medical care also helps demonstrate the severity of your injuries and that you are doing all you can to get better.
Step 2: Report the Incident
Reporting your slip and fall accident is important whether you decide to file a personal injury claim or not. Depending on the site of the accident, you should report the accident to the landlord, property manager, store manager, or whomever else is responsible for maintaining the area.
This is important for two reasons. First, it establishes that the incident took place and requires the parties responsible for maintaining the area to document it. Second, it establishes the foundation of what could be an injury claim.
Step 3: Retrieve Copies of Accident Reports
In addition to reporting the accident yourself, you should also retrieve the report the property owner, manager, or landlord filed. This report should include:
- Statements you made to the property owner
- Descriptions of the area in which the fall took place
- Any statements collected from witnesses
- The time, date, and location the fall occurred
Also, be sure the report lists the cause of your slip and fall. That might include any of the following:
- Improper/poor pavement conditions, e.g., icy or cracked pathways
- Improper/poor floor conditions, e.g., wet floors with no signs, dips or holes in the floor, damaged or ripped carpets
- Poor lighting, e.g., insufficient lighting can make navigating an area difficult
- Hazardous stairways, e.g., conditions indicating a lack of maintenance such as missing handrails, debris, uneven surfaces, etc.
- Exposed wires or cables
If the report does not specify what caused the accident, be sure to note it.
Step 4: Keep a Journal
Documenting your injuries and medical treatments following your slip and fall are as important as documenting the fall itself. Your injury journal should thoroughly document your experiences post-injury.
Include the following in your journal entries:
- Areas where you experience soreness and pain
- Dates of doctor’s visits
- Specialists you visit
- Prescribed medication and/or painkillers
- The progress of your recovery
- Work hours missed due to injuries
- Hobbies and family time missed due to injuries
In addition to documenting your own injuries, having friends and family members document changes in your own behavior could be helpful as well. For example, if your slip and fall injuries prevent you from golfing like you once could, a friend or family member could submit a written statement discussing how often you golfed prior to the injury, as well as how often you play after (if at all).
Step 5: Document Losses
There are a few financial losses you will likely face following a slip and fall accident. Keep a running tab of these expenses. These expenses will likely include:
- Medical expenses (both current and future)
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity (if you need to work less hours, take a lesser-paying job, or retire completely)
- Miscellaneous costs (e.g., gas to get to your doctor’s appointments, hiring help around the household, the costs of renovating your house or vehicle to accommodate a disability, etc.)
- Pain and suffering and mental anguish
Collect the following documents to corroborate your losses:
- Documents from your employer stating your position, hourly wage, hours worked per week
- Pay stubs
- Medical bills and medical records
- Therapist bills
- Your daily journal (can help establish pain and suffering)
Keep all receipts related to your accident. This can include something as large as the bill for widening your doorway to make room for a wheelchair, or as small as the costs of parking at your physical therapist’s office.
Step 6: Contact a Lawyer
Deciding to hire a lawyer is not an easy decision. However, if you believe your slip and fall occurred due to another party’s negligence, a personal injury claim may enable you to recover the compensation you need. S. Burke Law has handled countless personal injury cases over the years, and collected sizable claims on behalf of our clients.Call us at 404-842-7838 for a free consultation.