Falls are an all-American scourge. Nearly 21 million nonfatal injuries occurred in the United States in 2020. 33% of these injuries came from falls.
A slip and fall accident can send you to the hospital and result in costly medical bills. But you’re not helpless after your fall. You can get the money you need through a few basic steps.
What should you do once a fall happens? How can you develop a civil case? When should you get a lawyer and head to court?
Answer these questions and you can take control of your life today. Here is your quick guide.
Go to a Doctor
A slip and fall accident may seem like a minor incident. But even a small bump on the head can cause a brain injury, torn muscles, or internal bleeding. Falling onto your arm can break a bone and falling onto your chest or back can damage your spinal cord.
You should get help from a doctor right away. Call out for help if others are around you or pull out your phone and call for an ambulance.
Try to avoid moving, unless you are in a very dangerous area. Moving around can cause further damage to your head and neck.
A brain, spinal cord, or bone injury may require a few weeks of treatment and rest. This may be inconvenient, but you must cooperate with your doctors. Getting back to work right after getting injured can cause complications and delay the healing process.
Document the Slip and Fall Accident
Calling 911 will create a record of your slip and fall accident. While you are on the phone with a responder, you can tell them what happened and what your injuries are. But you need more documentation than your phone call.
You should keep all documents related to your injuries and treatment. You can claim compensation if you need physical or occupational therapy after your accident.
Write a statement with your version of events. Discuss what you saw and did before the fall, and go through how exactly the accident happened. If witnesses saw the accident, you should mention that and ask them to write statements of their observations.
If surveillance cameras recorded the accident, you should get the footage. Footage of the area around the accident site can also be useful, as it can show the poor conditions of the environment. You can also take photographs or videos of the accident site while you are there.
Report the Accident to Relevant Authorities
You should report your accident to the property manager. This lets them know about what happened and helps them take steps to prevent future accidents. Landlords and store managers may write reports about what happened, and you can get a copy of their report.
First responders will make reports if they arrive on the scene. Get a copy of these reports, as they can provide details about what the police and EMTs saw.
Keep in mind that anything you say can be used against you. Don’t volunteer any information that can hurt your case. If you don’t want to speak to the landlord or authorities directly, you can ask someone to speak on your behalf.
Build a Case
Keeping documents is an important step toward building a case for yourself. If you have physical evidence, you should also keep it.
Do not wash or throw away the clothes you wore during your accident. Dirt, damage, and blood on your clothes can establish what happened and serve as powerful visuals in court.
Track how you are doing over time. If you experience psychological problems due to your accident, you can claim compensation for them. Talk to a psychiatrist if you notice symptoms and collect paperwork related to your experience.
You should also keep track of how your injuries affect your job. If you miss work due to the accident, you can reclaim the money you lost.
You can use paystubs and statements from your boss to show you missed work. You can use documents from your occupational therapy to show you require costly accommodations at the workplace.
You should study slip and fall accident law. Premises liability relates to unsafe conditions on someone’s property that result in injuries. If you can prove that the owner knew about the unsafe conditions and failed to improve them, you can win your case.
Meet With a Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer
Once you’ve gathered evidence, you can go to a lawyer. You can wait until you’ve started to recover from your accident. South Carolina law specifies that the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is three years, which gives you plenty of time to focus on your recovery.
You should be diligent with the process of choosing a lawyer. Talk to a few different lawyers and ask them questions about their experience and knowledge of slip and fall liability. Give them your documents and see how they analyze them.
It may take some time to find a lawyer you like. Once you hire someone, they will take over and spend time developing your case further. This may take months.
Do not panic or get worried. You can talk to your lawyer and get updates on what is going on. If your insurer contacts you, your lawyer can contact them so you can focus on your job and personal life.
Keep Going After a Fall
A slip and fall accident shouldn’t disadvantage you. Get medical help right away, even if you don’t think you are injured. Document what happened, including telling the property manager about the accident.
Gather additional pieces of evidence like paystubs and your clothes. Once you’ve got the basis for a case, you can go to attorneys and find one you like. Let them take over, but remain in touch so you know what’s going on.
Help is right beside you. The McGrath Law Firm serves the Mount Pleasant area. Contact us today.