Have You Suffered an Injury After a Fall? You Need to Read This
How many times have you seen someone fall on a sidewalk, in a store, or at a public event? Sometimes the result is just some scattered bags or embarrassment - and sometimes it causes serious injuries.
Slipping and falling may seem like one of the most common and trivial of accidents - but it’s a fall from a few feet, not a few inches - and the resulting injuries can be substantial. Unintentional falls are consistently the number one cause of emergency room visits in the U.S. They’re likely to be expensive, and they may well be due to someone else’s neglect or oversight.
If you’ve fallen and injured yourself, it’s important to first take care of yourself, but then take a moment to gather information about the conditions that led to your fall. This will be essential if you need help with paying for medical bills or for other damages that were caused by someone else’s negligence. Here’s what to do immediately:
Look closely at your surroundings
Falling is a shock, and you may be in pain, but identify what caused you to trip or fall. Was the floor or ground wet? Did something give way? What were you doing just prior to the fall? Details like this are the easiest thing to forget, so make a note to yourself or better, write down this information while it’s still fresh in your mind.
Be particularly aware of the type of shoes you were wearing, the texture of the floor, and what, if anything you tripped over. These details can also be documented very well if you follow our next step:
Take photos and talk to witnesses
Use your phone or your friend’s phone to take good, clear photos of things like puddles, slick spots, hazardous steps, trip hazards and/or any damaged personal property. Document what the lighting and weather conditions are like.
If there are witnesses to your fall and injury, get their contact information, such as names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses. In this day and age, it is quite possible they have photos or videos of the incident, themselves. Ask for copies.
File an incident report
If you are on someone’s property, find the manager and file an incident report. Get a copy for your records, and ask if there is video surveillance footage of the fall and injury. If so, request a copy.
Get treatment as soon as possible
Don’t wait to be treated. Falls are the leading cause of all Traumatic Brain Injuries in the U.S. It is essential to be checked by a medical professional if this has possibly happened in your accident. Broken bones, sprains, and other pain are also common fall injuries. When you are being treated by medical personnel, be sure to state how the incident happened, so that they can best assist you, and so that you will have the documentation.
Keep your records and documentation together and get help
Be sure to keep good copies of all your medical records, bills, reports and other critical pieces of information. Don’t forget the replacement costs of anything that is broken or damaged, such as watches, glasses, electronic devices, or clothing. If you are unsure about who is responsible for your injury, talk to an attorney who has experience in personal injury cases. They will be able to clarify if you are entitled to help and compensation for your bills and damages.
Falls are common, sometimes preventable, and often expensive and painful. Even when it’s you who has been hurt, try to keep a clear head and gather information about how, when, and why it happened, and be sure to get medical help.
There is no such thing as too much information when it comes to determining who is at fault in a slip and fall injury, and if you need legal representation, it will make the process go much more smoothly.
Scott Distasio is the founder of Distasio Law Firm in Tampa. His career focus is on all types of personal injury cases. His work represents his belief that all firms should provide outstanding service to their clients. Follow @scottdistasio on Twitter to see what legal wisdom he shares next.