It’s embarrassing when you fall on someone’s property. You feel like it’s your fault. You try to get away before someone notices what happened, but you should think it through before you make your escape. Take a moment to assess your situation, especially if you’re injured. The property owner may be legally liable for your injuries if a condition on the premises contributed to your fall. After a slip, trip, and fall accident, it’s important to figure out what happened before you leave the premises.
What Should You do After Your Slip, Trip, and Fall Accident?
It’s important to consult with a personal injury attorney. In the meantime, you must take proper steps to preserve the evidence and protect your legal rights. Ask yourself these questions.
1. Am I injured?
If you had a hard fall or sustained an obvious injury, you should seek immediate medical attention. If there are no other people around to help you, call 911 for assistance. If you are a senior with a wearable alert device, push your button to summon help.
Remember, if someone at the scene asks if you’re hurt, never say “I’m fine” unless you’re certain. Just because you don’t feel pain right away, it doesn’t mean you’re not injured. Soft tissue injury pain may not register until a day or so after a fall. To rule out strains or sprains, consider visiting your doctor for a check up during the days following the accident. If it turns out that you are hurt, the liability insurance company may use your “I’m fine” statement to discredit you.
2. What caused my fall?
You are in the best position to determine what caused you to fall. If you don’t know, scan the immediate area for any adverse conditions that may have caused you to slip or trip. Look for walkway height variations, shifting pavement, or deteriorating concrete. Check for out-of-place objects or poorly maintained conditions. Even if you can’t identify the cause, use your cell camera to photograph the area or shoot a mini video that captures the entire area where you fell.
It’s critical to document the scene immediately after your accident. If a negligent condition on the property caused your fall, the owner may change or correct it before your attorney can conduct a site investigation. You would have a difficult time proving your version.
3. Did anyone see me fall?
If passersby are in the immediate area, find out if one or more of them witnessed your fall. Unbiased witnesses rarely volunteer, so ask outright if anyone in the immediate vicinity saw what happened. If anyone saw any portion of the incident, ask for their names and contact information.
4. When should I report my accident?
Your version of a fall is more credible when you notify the property owners while you’re still on the property. If you contact them several days later, they may go on the defensive. Insurance companies require policyholders to report any potential liability claims. They could make the report but deny any knowledge of the incident.
When you fall on private property, knock on the owner’s door and tell them what happened. If nobody’s home, leave a note. When you fall on a business property, turn in a written incident report before you leave. If an ambulance transports you for medical treatment, explain to the EMS team and the medical facility how and why you fell. That way, formal medical records will document your version.
5. What should I do next?
When a slip, trip, and fall accident causes you injuries, you must establish your priorities.
a) Follow your doctor’s advice – Whether your physician prescribes medication, bed rest, physical therapy or other treatment, it’s important to do as you’re told. The treatment should help you recover. Also, insurance companies evaluate claims based on a doctor’s diagnosis and recommended treatment. If you decide to power through your injury without medical follow-up, it can diminish your injury value.
b) Consult with a personal injury attorney – Slip, trip, and fall accidents have complicated legal issues. You must understand Tennessee’s statute of limitations, comparative negligence laws, and other statutes specific to property accidents. Personal injury lawyers understand these issues. They will review your case, move immediately to protect your legal rights, and evaluate your chances of prevailing against the property owner.
c) Make a decision – You are the only one who can decide the best course of action for you. Just remember, if you choose to represent yourself, you must deal with the property owner, insurance company, claims adjuster, and anyone else involved in handling your claim.
Our law firm can help
If a slip, trip, and fall accident caused your injuries, you need professional legal guidance. Our law firm is small yet strong. We give you personal attention and fight hard to protect your rights and win your case. Contact us for a free consultation.