A trip and fall accident can result in different types of injuries, some of which can be serious and even fatal. Unfortunately, there’s no way of telling when any such incident might take place and the extent of the damage it causes. If you or someone you know has suffered injury owing to tripping and falling, it’s ideal that you move forward in a calm and composed manner. While gathering as much information about the incident as possible is important, you may also benefit by speaking with a trip and fall accident lawyer.
Trip or Slip?
A trip and fall accident is not the same as a slip and fall accident. While a slip and fall accident involves losing balance while walking on some type of slippery surface, a trip and fall accident is when someone trips over an object or imperfection. The legalities that surround both are largely the same.
According to data collated by Housecall Pro, trips and falls are not uncommon at workplaces across industries. It indicates that slips, trips, and falls account for over 25% of all workplace injuries. In addition, falls account for 39% of deaths in the construction industry.
Numbers released by the National Safety Council (NSC) indicate that falls take the third spot when it comes to leading causes of preventable injury-related deaths across the U.S. It also highlights that falls are responsible for the largest number of nonfatal injuries across all age groups.
Steps to Follow After a Trip and Fall Accident
As someone who is injured in a slip and fall accident, you might have the legal right to seek compensation for your injuries and other damages. In such a scenario, any good trip and fall accident attorney would suggest that you follow a few relatively simple steps.
Seek Medical Care
Soon after an accident, your priority should be to seek medical attention, all the more so if you are in severe pain or discomfort. Bear in mind that not all injuries become apparent soon after an accident. Seeking medical care might also help bolster your case because your medical records can serve as evidence in your trip and fall accident claim at a later stage.
Report the Accident
File a formal report of your trip and fall accident with the manager or the owner of the property as soon as possible. Ideally, you should report it while you’re still present at the scene. This is because most businesses have surveillance cameras and your report triggers their duty to preserve the video footage which may be critical to the case.
Several businesses and government bodies have streamlined processes in place to handle accident reports. In the absence of any such process, submit a report in person, via email, or by post.
If you are unable to file a report because of your injury, get someone to do it on your behalf. Remember that filing a report in writing is crucial. If you file a police complaint, get a copy for your records.
Determine the Cause
Determining the cause of your trip and fall accident can help identify who is liable for your injuries. Some of the common causes include:
- Unmarked uneven surfaces
- Loose rugs, mats, or floorboards
- Cluttered floors
- Cracks in the flooring
- Poorly lit areas
- Poorly maintained stairwells
Get Witness Information
If others have noticed you tripping and falling, it’s in your best interest to gather their contact information. You may ask if they’re okay with you recording their statements using your phone’s camera because the event would still be fresh on their minds. Getting their names, phone numbers, and/or email addresses can help you contact them later. You may provide this information to your trip and fall accident attorney as well.
Document the Accident
Note down all the details of the accident while you can still recall them clearly. Take photographs or a video of your injury as well as of the location, with the cause clearly in view. These, too, can serve as evidence in your case.
Seek Security Footage
If the scene of the accident is under video surveillance, you may request the concerned authority for the footage that captured the incident. Since some establishments tend to delete their security footage after a predetermined time period, make sure you ask for it quickly enough. You may even ask the manager/owner of the property to retain the footage in question.
Don’t Discuss Your Case With Everyone
As much as you might feel inclined to, refrain from discussing the specifics of your case with the opposing party, its insurance company, its lawyers, or the media. Don’t publish posts about it on social media. This is because any information you provide might end up having an adverse effect on your case. Another reason to avoid discussing your case with the opposing party is that it might try to lure you into a settlement for an amount that is much less than what you deserve.
Contact a Trip and Fall Accident Lawyer
If you plan to seek compensation for your injuries, understanding the merits of your case is crucial. As a result, speaking with an attorney or lawyer is the ideal way to go. This would require getting in touch with a law firm that handles personal injury cases and has the required expertise to take on a trip and fall case.
Your attorney can determine who to hold liable and how much compensation to seek, and also handle all the communication with the opposing party’s counsel and insurance company. If the case does not result in a settlement and takes the form of a trip and fall accident lawsuit, your lawyer can represent you in court.
Dealing with the aftermath of a trip and fall accident that causes injuries can be challenging, especially if they are severe. However, you might be able to get some respite if you qualify to receive compensation. In this case, damages can include hospital bills, other medical expenses, lost wages, mental trauma, and more. Given that different legalities are often at play in such scenarios, you might benefit by discussing the specifics of your case with an experienced trip and fall accident lawyer.