What to Do After a Slip and Fall Accident in California
Slip and fall accidents occur every day. You may be in the lobby of a hotel or other business after a rain or snowstorm and slip on uncleaned and unmarked ice or water. You may fall victim to a spill in a grocery store that the employees have neglected. Whatever the case, if you slip, trip, or fall on someone else’s property in Southern California and you are injured as a result, you may be able to recover for your damages with the help of a dedicated Pasadena slip and fall attorney. Read on for a few of the most important steps you should take after you are injured on someone else’s property.
Seek Immediate Medical Treatment
First and foremost, see a doctor after your fall. Every slip and fall is different, and not all injuries may be readily apparent. Seeking medical intervention early will help you treat obvious injuries, identify any latent injuries, and prevent untreated injuries from becoming a serious threat to your health. Additionally, seeing a doctor promptly will help to identify all of the injuries connected to your fall which will allow you to establish the link between your fall and the injuries. Identifying injuries promptly will help ensure that you are able to recover appropriate damages from the property owners or their insurance companies.
Take Photographs of the Scene and Your Injuries
Business owners and other property owners and managers will try to clean up the scene of the accident as quickly as possible for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that removing the evidence will conceal the reason for your fall. After your fall, take photos as quickly as you can in order to document both the cause of your fall and the extent of your injuries. You will want numerous photos with different angles documenting the exact location of your fall and all of the causes and circumstances that were connected to your fall, including, for example, any spills, faulty shelves, leaky ceilings or pipes, lack of clear signage, etc.
Report the Accident to the Property Owner or Manager and to the Police
While you do not want to have an extended discussion with the property owner or manager, it is important to let them know about the accident after it occurs. You do not want to be responsible for someone else injuring themselves in the same manner, and reporting the incident shows your good faith. Additionally, you should report the accident to the police, even if your injuries are not severe. An officer will come to the scene and help you document the situation. The officer may identify health and safety code violations as well as other hazards that contributed to your fall. The officer’s findings will be documented in a formal police report, which can be extremely useful in supporting your eventual lawsuit or insurance claim.
Choose Your Words Carefully with Homeowners, Insurance Adjusters, Etc.
If you slipped and fell at an individual’s home, while you should let them know about your fall, you should not then proceed to discuss the accident with them. You should not get emotional or angry with the homeowners. Even if they are your friends, you may still want to file a claim. Typically, slip and fall attorneys will be seeking compensation from their homeowner’s insurance policies, rather than the owners directly. Get their insurance information, if possible, but limit your discussion of the matter to avoid prejudicing your case and exacerbating any interpersonal problem with the homeowners.
Further, choose your words carefully with anyone else who becomes involved in the case. Insurance claim adjusters, opposing counsel, and other representatives for the property owners or managers are not your friends, and they may look for anything you say that can be used to either limit your recovery or reject your claim entirely. Avoid apologizing or otherwise admitting fault, downplaying your injuries, or otherwise saying anything that can be used against you in an insurance proceeding or lawsuit.
Gather Evidence, Including Witness Statements
A qualified personal injury lawyer will help you build your case for a lawsuit or insurance claim, but it is worthwhile for you to start the evidence-gathering process even before you contact an attorney. Gather statements from any witnesses who saw the accident, collect video surveillance footage if available, and preserve any documentation you generate as a result of the accident such as medical records, medical bills, and proof of lost wages.
Speak with an Attorney
A dedicated personal injury attorney can be the difference between going into debt paying for your own medical costs and having the property manager or their insurance foot your bills. Speak with a slip and fall lawyer promptly after your accident to help you determine if you have a case and assist you in investigating your claim, collecting the necessary evidence, and pursuing your claim against the appropriate parties. Personal injury attorneys often work on contingency, meaning you will not pay any attorney fees unless you recover.
Call Pasadena Premises Liability Lawyer Andrew Ritholz
If you’ve been injured in a California slip and fall accident, consult with an attorney who understands your rights and can represent your claim for damages knowledgeably and effectively. Contact Pasadena slip and fall lawyer Andrew Ritholz for a free case evaluation at 626-844-7102.