Accidents happen, and the average consumer does not go into a store anticipating that they will slip and fall. What happens after one of these unfortunate events occurs can determine whether or not victims receive compensation. The retailers have their best interests in mind, and you should make sure you take care of yourself too.
Remain calm and fight feelings of embarrassment.
These accidents happen suddenly. The average person who falls will find the event embarrassing. This can also create anxiety—in a haste an injured person may attempt to quickly gain their composure, attempting to stand and walk.
It is better to remain sitting on the floor while help is summoned. Never attempt to continue shopping after a fall.
Take note of your surroundings.
Most retailers today have video cameras. One of those cameras will likely capture your fall. Ensure you take note of what caused you to fall. Damaged flooring, cords running cross the floor, recently mopped floors, or spills are things that could cause slips, trips, or falls.
If you have your cell phone, take photos to serve as your own proof. Keep in mind that wet floors with caution signs may work in favor of the store owner. If signs are in the area, take a photo of where these signs are and their proximity to where you fell.
Watch how you respond to questions posed by store staff.
Most stores will likely have to document accidents that occur. This is usually done by means of a report. This may require a manager to ask you questions.
Do not make statements that minimize the seriousness of your fall. Watch your wording when it comes to pain and describing what happened. You do not want your words to later come back and jeopardize you receiving compensation for your injuries. Also, request a copy of any written reports.
Do not refuse medical attention.
Most store managers or owners will likely ask people who have fallen if they would like for them to call the paramedics. This is the best way to document your injuries.
Keep in mind that some people do not feel pain until hours after a fall. However, if you go to the hospital, they may take X-rays and see areas that may be the source of pain and bruising later. You could also have simple fractures that could go undetected if you do not get medical attention.
Ensure you keep all follow-up appointments. Some people do not, and it can make their reported injuries seem questionable.
The Next Step
A personal injury attorney is the best resource to use for slip and fall cases. The insurance company for the store may offer you a settlement, but it is best to allow an attorney, such as Harshman & McBee, to guide you through negotiations. A significant part of proving negligence in your case will depend upon the circumstances that caused the fall. This is why your documentation is important.