Slip-and-fall injury claims are known among injury lawyers to be some of the more difficult ones to prove, and that’s primarily because of the challenging in proving liability of the owner or the manager of the premises where slip-and-fall incident occurred, and also because of the fact that generally the public views slip and fall cases with a great degree of skepticism, and winning a slip and fall injury case in court, in front of the jury, is more difficult that winning another, more typical injury case, such as an injury suffered in a typical rear-end motor vehicle accident.
However, a person who suffered a slip-and-fall injury can do a few simple things shortly after the injury in order to significantly the chances of having a good case and being fairly compensated:
1. Take pictures of the scene of your slip-and-fall incident and of your injuries, as well as the area where the injury too place if relevant.
If you slipped on a slippery liquid, take a picture of it and even take a sample of it, if possible. Also, take pictures of your injuries – images of any blood and bruising in your body. These kinds of photos will likely prove to be very useful in proving not only your injuries but also how and why you slipped and fell. The cause of the slip and fall is often disputed by the owner of the premises, and therefore the pictures can be very helpful.
2. Get Witnesses’ Information Who Saw You Slip and Fall or Who Saw You Shortly After the Incident.
Look around and see if anyone has witnessed your fall or saw you shortly after you fell. Ask them for their contact information and have your attorney contact your witnesses as soon as possible. Because memories tend to fade and witness tend to move or change their phone number, it is important to secure witness statements from those individuals, which may prove to be critical later – in court. The owners of premises often dispute the facts of the injury or even deny that the fall has occurred, especially if there were no cameras on premises, so witnesses can prove to be critical in slip and fall cases.
3. Notify the Owner / Manager of the Premises of the Slip-and-Fall Incident
We have handled several cases where a person who fell at a major grocery store would not notify the store management about the incident until a week or more after the incident. They would simply walk away from the scene without letting any of the store employees know about their injury at that time. Later, the store used that information to discredit our clients, arguing that if they were really injured as badly as they said they were, they would have notified the store right away. Sometimes this argument works better and sometimes it doesn’t help the store escape liability, but it is in your best interest not to leave the scene of the incident, until you notify someone in charge or report the incident, unless of course your injury is so bad, that you are taken to the hospital by ambulance immediately after the fall.
4. Keep Your Clothes and Shoes that You Wore When You Slipped and Fell
Your clothing and your shows have evidentiary value in a slip-and-fall case. You should keep them until the case is over. Your shoes will help your attorney and the opposing attorney determine whether your footwear played any role in contributing to your fall. If you had new shoes with a good, treaded sole, it should help you case as it will show that your shoes have nothing to do with your fall. Your pants can also help you case if they have any marks, holes or blood stains from your fall.
5. Notice if There is a Camera on the Premises Where You Slipped and Fell
Before you leave the premises, notice if there is any kind of video camera anywhere around or above the scene of your slip-and-fall. Most grocery stores, banks, gyms, bars, and other commercial spaces today have some kind of monitoring devices for security purposes. If there is a camera anywhere, let your attorney know, so that he can request a copy of the videotape as soon as possible, to minimize the chances of that recording being destroyed or “lost”.
6. Do Not Delay Medical Treatment
Make sure you are evaluated by your primary care physician and get x-rays (and MRI if appropriate) done as soon as possible to find out if you suffered any fractures or broken bones. Some victims of slip and fall injuries make the mistake of not having their x-rays done until months later, in which case the lawyers that represent the owner of the premises will argue that a lot of other things could have happened during these past few months that caused or aggravated your injury. When you get your x-rays done withing a few days of suffering an injury, you take that argument away from them.
If you have any other questions about your slip and fall injury and potential claims, feel free to contact us. We represent victims of slip and fall injuries in San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, Stockton and surrounding areas.