What to do After a Slip & Fall Accident
Did you know that about eight million people go to the emergency room each year due to falls? According to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), falls actually serve as the cause of roughly one in five ER visits in New York and across the country each year.
Older people face the greatest risk of suffering serious injuries in a slip and fall. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that one out of every four people who is age 65 or older experiences a fall every year. Unfortunately, devastating hip fractures are common among people who suffer falls within this age group.
If you suffer injuries in a slip and fall in Binghamton or elsewhere in New York, you may not realize what you should do in order to protect your right to seek compensation for your all of your losses. The following are a few suggested steps that you can take.
1. Get medical attention.
So many falls result in fractures, head injuries, back and spine injuries concussions and other types of traumatic brain injuries. In the moments after slip and fall, you need to focus on getting medical care. You should seek a timely diagnosis of your injuries and start your treatment as soon as possible.
Additionally, a doctor will document your injuries. This documentation will help to establish the connection between your injuries and the slip and fall. It will also thwart an insurance company’s attempt to argue that your injuries are not related to the fall, or that you have exaggerated the harm that you suffered.
2. Gather all information that you have related to the fall.
At the scene of a slip and fall – and if you are physically able to do so – you should try to take photos and get the names of anyone who witnessed the incident. Try to make a mental note of whether any employees saw or may have seen the fall. If you are too badly hurt but have someone you know and trust with you, ask them to get names and numbers for you so that you can get to the hospital.
If you took these steps, you should keep the photos and eyewitness contact information in a safe place like a box, folder or in a photo file on your phone. You should also keep the clothes you wore on the day of the fall. Additionally, gather any other information associated with your slip and fall, including medical bills and letters or e-mails that a property owner’s insurance company sends to you.
3. Report the slip and fall to the manager or property owner.
Make sure that you inform the property owner, manager, shopkeeper, or someone else in charge of the facility where your slip and fall occurred. You should not need to engage in a lengthy conversation or answer questionnaires. Instead, you should simply ask for an incident form or leave a note so that your fall is “on the record.”
If you report the incident, you may prompt the property owner or manager to fix or warn others about the hazard that harmed you. So, in this sense, you can protect your legal rights and prevent others from suffering similar harm as you.
4. Be careful when insurance companies contact you.
In the days after you report a slip and fall accident, an insurance company may contact you. A claims adjuster may ask you to give a recorded statement and may even extend an offer to settle any potential legal claim that you have. You need to be cautious. It is often best not to speak with them at all.
Insurance companies want to make money – and they don’t make money if they need to pay out a personal injury claim. So, the insurer can – and most likely will – use any statement that you give against you and try to deny or reduce the amount of your claim.
Additionally, you should allow an experienced Binghamton slip and fall attorney to review your case first before you accept a settlement. The lawyer can fully investigate your case, review your medical records and calculate all of your losses. With this information, the attorney can help you to assess any settlement offers you receive and – if necessary – fight for you in the courtroom.
5. Stay away from social media.
If you are the type of person who posts frequently on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, you need to be careful about what you say about your slip and fall, your injuries and your potential legal claim. Simply put: You should never discuss your slip and fall on social media – at all – period. You should also consider staying away from posting on social media altogether while your claim is pending.
Today, insurance companies go to social media sites to find information about individuals who file personal injury claims. An insurance company can take anything that you say on social media about your slip and fall or even an unrelated post or photo, and the insurer can try to use it against you.
6. Get help from an experienced slip and fall lawyer.
If you have suffered a serious injury and believe you may have a slip and fall accident claim, you need legal representation. Do not leave it to the property owner’s insurance company to decide what is “fair” compensation for you.
Insurance adjusters and litigation managers for large companies are often extremely savvy when it comes to denying or minimizing claims. You can level the playing field by getting an experienced slip and fall attorney on your side.
Scott C. Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney, has more than 35 years of experience fighting for his clients in and out of the courtroom. If you or someone you love has been the victim of a negligent property owner in or around Binghamton, NY, and you have suffered from a painful slip and fall injury, contact us today for a free, no-risk consultation.